Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Determining the variation in anthropogenic microfiber pollution in the Richland Creek watershed in Nashville, TN

Publication Date

Spring 4-21-2022


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Biology, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Matthew Heard

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation


Anthropogenic microfibers including microplastics have been suggested to pose a threat to both wildlife and humans when they are present in freshwater ecosystems. However, there have been relatively few studies that have examined how these microfibers vary in presence and abundance in most streams and tributaries. In this study, we examined how the presence and abundance of anthropogenic microfibers varied in 6 tributaries of Richland Creek, which is an important body of water that runs into the Cumberland River in Nashville, TN. To do this we collected grab samples of surface water at four time points from six locations. Overall, we found that all of our sites had microfibers present, but that there was significant variation in the amounts over time. Collectively, we hope that our findings represent an important first step in documenting this form of pollution and help us to begin to source where these microfibers are coming from.

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