McLane had the privilege of sponsoring Ethan Edson, a 2015 Northeastern University marine and environmental science graduate, to attend Oceans’15 in Washington, D.C. Ethan presented the paper “MANTARAY: A Novel Autonomous Sampling Instrument for In-situ Measurements of Environmental Microplastic Particle Concentrations” detailing his prototype instrument that gathers and categorizes microplastistics in situ.
Now that MantaRay bench data has been successfully collected, Ethan hopes to get funding for a field deployment and continued development.
The MantaRay prototype has a flow-through system to pump sea surface water through itself while an optical sensor identifies in situ microplastics amd stores them on one of 28 filters. The sensor can also collect GPS, temperature, and salinity data simultaneously.
Further development goals include increasing the MantaRay’s ability to fingerprint plastic samples and distinguish plastic versus organic material, and miniaturizing the sensor in the next generation prototype. Ethan developed the MantaRay as an undergraduate in Prof. Mark Patterson’s lab.