The GTM Research Reserve joined the Florida Microplastics Awareness Project in 2015! Since joining, our researchers and volunteers have collected monthly water samples from 14 locations, filtered the samples, and collected data on the different types and amounts of microplastics within our waters.

Our researchers and volunteers use microscopes to inventory the amount and types of microplastics within their water sample. Microplastics include fragments of plastic that have become weak from wave action and sunlight and broken from larger items, filaments that are washed from clothing, films, and polyethylene microbeads from toothpastes, facial scrubs and other personal care products.

Image of blue filament microplastic Image of red filament microplastic







The interactive bar graph above shares up-to-date abundances of the microplastics at each of our sampling sites. The samples collected within the GTM Research Reserve are mostly filaments, which can enter the coastal waters through washing synthetic fabrics (polyester, nylon, acrylic, polypropylene) or using them to clean or dry. Studies estimate that 1,900 to as many as one million filaments have the potential to be released in a single wash!

Take your pledge to keep our ocean clean. “Say no” to polyethylene, and learn more at