Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean, Coastal, and Earth Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Heise

Second Advisor

Dr. Alejandro Fierro-Cabo

Third Advisor

Dr. Jude Benevides


Microplastic pollution is a serious issue that impacts most aquatic environments. Microplastics have the potential to cause numerous detriments to the fitness and reproductive capability of many organisms. The resacas of the Lower Rio Grande are an understudied area that could be sinks for large congregations of microplastics. We analyze microplastic pollution in two species of fish as well as the sediment and water of eleven different pools from four resaca systems. We find that microplastics are present in every pool sampled.

Altogether 218 microplastic pieces are found from the water, sediment and fish samples. We find that microplastics are most likely to be found in the water followed by sediment and then fish. Microfibers were the most prevalent microplastic found in every parameter from all resacas. We employed Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometry to further analyze our plastic samples and identify polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).


Copyright 2021 Wesley D. Franklin. All Rights Reserved.