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Call to join the 4th FreshProject “PhytoPlastic”

Call to join the 4th European FreshProject “PhytoPlastic”
“Life in plastic, it’s fantastic: unravelling the microalgal community of plastisphere across European lentic systems”

Principal investigators: Veronica Nava (Postdoctoral researcher – University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy) & Julia Gostynska (Ph.D. student – Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland)

Plastics constitute suitable substrates for the colonization by microalgae and represent a new habitat for rafting organisms to the point that the term “plastisphere” was coined to define the diverse community growing on the surface of plastic debris. However, further research is needed to explore the microalge-plastic interactions and several questions remain to be addressed.

The present project is aimed at studying the temporal establishment and development of phytobenthos on different plastic polymers over a wide geographical scale to better characterize the interaction of plastics with key organisms of aquatic ecosystems, i.e. microalgae.
The overreaching goals are to:
– understand whether plastic debris can represent a new niche for the microalgal community in freshwater systems
– determine whether substrate-specific properties or environmental factors prevail in shaping microalgal assemblages on plastic debris.

What is required to join?
To be able to participate, it is necessary to:
– be a Bachelor student, Master student, PhD student, or early Post‐Doc (PhD completion later than 31st December 2019)
– be already a member/or join one of the limnological societies federated within EFFS (for a list see both pages here)
– have enough time to perform the sampling activities (4 days for 4 sampling seasons) and any other project activity (data analysis, writing, meetings, etc)
– have access to basic limnological equipment (multiparametric probe)
– actively participate in the project

What do you gain from the participation?
– You will be part of a network of young freshwater scientists
– You will increase your knowledge about relevant topics in limnological research (microalgae and microplastics)
– You will enhance your soft-skills
– You will contribute to an international project
– Co-authorship in scientific publications

How to participate?
To participate in the project, please read and fill in the online questionnaire (here) by 15 July 2022.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us: Veronica Nava (; Julia Gostynska (
For further information, visit the project website: