Alexandra McGoran

Alexandra McGoran

Profile
Profile Display Name:

Alexandra McGoran

E-mail Address:

alexandra.mcgoran@gmail.com

Start Year

2017 (Cohort 4)

Research interests:

Plastic pollution in aquatic environments.

Hobbies and interests:

Art, Crafts, Crochet, illustration, sci art

PhD Project
PhD Title

The potential for trophic transfer of micro-plastics in Thames Estuary food chains

Research Theme

Environmental Pollution

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution

RHUL

Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution

NHM

CASE Partner

Fishmongers’ Company

CASE Supervisor

Eleanor Adamson

Abstract

Evidence for microplastic ingestion by a range of organisms in the Thames Estuary is increasing (McGoran et al., 2017; McGoran et al., submitted), however, further studies are still required. There is little data for whether ingested microplastics remain only in the individual or if the pollutants, or associated chemicals, are transferred through the food web to accumulate in predator species. This project will examine species from different trophic levels, such as shrimp, fish and seals, and organisms with different feeding types, such as predators, scavengers and filter feeders, from the Thames Estuary to identify the exposure routes of plastic ingestion. Such a study might provide evidence for the transfer of microplastics through feeding activity. In addition to this, the project will look at temporal changes in plastic, both seasonally and historically, by collecting from sediment core samples from Thames salt marshes

Policy Impact
Background Reading
  • Plastic in the Thames: a river runs through it
  • Presence of microplastic in the digestive tracts of European flounder, Platichthys flesus, and European smelt, Osmerus eperlanus, from the River Thames
  • Ingestion of plastic by fish: A comparison of Thames Estuary and Firth of Clyde populations
  • Grants and awards
    • Fishmongers’ Company’s Charitable Trust Small Grant Scheme – Fishmongers’ Company’s Charitable trust
    Publications
    Datasets

    High prevalence of plastic ingestion by Eriocheir sinensis and Carcinus maenas (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura) in the Thames Estuary Excel. Contributors: McGoran AR, Clark PF, Smith BD, Morrit DSynthetic and semi-synthetic fibre ingestion by mesopelagic fishes from Tristan da Cuhna and St Helena, South Atlantic Excel. Contributors: McGoran A.R., Maclaine J.S., Clark P.F., Mottitt D.

    News & Blogs

    Pieces of plastic found in a third of Thames fish, The Times
    More than a quarter of fish in the Thames Estuary are eating plastic, NHM Blog
    Searching for plastic in the belly of a seal, NHM Blog
    Microplastic pollution and wet wipe ‘reefs’ are changing the River Thames ecosystem, The Conversation
    Thames Estuary seal’s post-mortem exam tracks microplastics, BBC News
    After Life, BBC Wildlife Magazine
    Plastic producers urged to take responsibility for “nurdle” pollution, New Scientist
    European Researchers’ Night, London Live
    BBC News London at 18:30 21.0.2020, BBC News London
    BBC News South East at 18:30 21.07.2020, BBC News
    BBC Radio Surrey 17:40 21.07.2020, BBC Radio Surrey
    talk Radio 20:05 21.02.2020, Talk radio
    River Thames severely polluted with microplastics, BBC News
    River Thames severely polluted with microplastics, Evening Standard
    How plastic is polluting your body, Daily Mail

    Activities
    Conferences and Workshops
    • MASTS Annual Meeting (October 2018). Talk: Plastic Ingestion by Fish: A Comparison of the Thames and the Clyde.: https://www.masts.ac.uk/media/36592/mpml-session-abstracts.pdf
    • Dynamic Earth: The Joint DTP Conference 2019 (September 2019). Talk: Plastic in the Thames Foodweb.
    • A Changing Planet: The Joint DTP Conference 2018 (September 2018). Talk: Plastic Ingestion by fish: a comparison of the Thames and the Clyde.
    • Micro2018 (November 2018). Talk: Plastic ingestion by fish: A comparison of the Thames and the Clyde.
    • MPs, aquaculture and fisheries workshop by ARCH UK at Fishmongers’ Hall (March 2019). Talk: Plastic ingestion by fish: a comparison of the Thames and the Clyde.
    • Linnean Society Student Conference (February 2019). Talk: Plastic ingestion by fish: A comparison of the Thames and the Clyde.
    • NHM Student Conference (March 2019). Talk: Plastic Ingestion by Fish: A Comparison of the Thames and the Clyde.
    • SETAC Europe (May 2018). Poster: Plastic ingestion by Fish.
    • SETAC Europe (May 2018). Speed Talk: Plastic Ingestion by Fish.
    • RHUL BioSci PostGrad Symposium. Talk: Litter in the Thames: a story of plastic, fish and seals?.
    • NHM Student Conference 2020. Talk: What’s on the menu: Plastic ingestion by Thames crabs.
    • RHUL Virtual Doctoral School Conference 2020. Poster: Are crabs in the River Thames eating microplastics?.: https://naturalhistorymuseum-my.sharepoint.com/:p:/g/personal/a_mcgoran_nhm_ac_uk/ETHy29HQJwtMv49a7E4XRMQBCuQxzhlIpTN13P445CKWUw?e=v9AR4n.
    • Micro2020 (November 2020). Talk: High prevalence of plastic ingestion by Eriocheir sinensis and Carcinus maenas (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura) in the Thames Estuary.
    • Royal Holloway Postgraduate Symposium (March 2021). Talk: Evaluating microplastic contamination in the Thames Estuary food web: plastic ingestion by Thames crabs..
    • 7IMDC (September 2022). Talk: Microplastic transfer in food webs: a case study in the Thames Estuary.
    • 7IMDC (September 2022). Poster: Current and future effects of microplastics on marine ecosystems: the Minimise Project.
    Training courses
    • Science Communication – NHM Late NERC, hosted by NHM.
    • Science Communication to a TV Audience / Writers, hosted by Kings College London. July 2019
    • Communicating with the media, hosted by Lefevre Media. March 2021
    Engagement
    DTP Activities

    Member of the Joint DTP Summer Conference Organising Committee 2019

    Social Links
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