Nice to meet you!
I am a Master's student in Physical Geography at Masaryk University (Czech Republic). I focus on recent changes in soils, which currently means studying microplastics in soils.
I earned Bachelor's degree in 2021 with my thesis on Microplastics in soils of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, where I examined the factors influencing the quantity of plastic microfibres in soils and the processes influencing their distribution in the Isle of South Uist.
For my Master's thesis, I am studying microplastics on three hills of České středohoří in relation to topography, wind direction, and soil depth. For the first time, contamination with microplastics in Czech soils will be quantified.
How I got into microplastics
I started my university studies back in 2017. Very excited about all the course opportunities my university offered, I decided to take not just my core courses but also some extracurricular ones. One of them, Sustainable Development I – Introduction and global challenges, literally changed my life as I heard about microplastics for the first time. The lecturer talked about microplastics in the ocean and the danger of plastics to sea animals. With all the first-year knowledge of general physical geography, I immediately thought microplastics couldn't stay only in the ocean; they must also be transported into terrestrial ecosystems and soils.
When I got home from the lecture, I searched for some papers about microplastics in soils. I found the first-ever paper about the topic by Matthias C. Rillig from 2012. Since then, my head has been full of (micro)plastics (probably not just figuratively speaking).
A half year later, in the summer of 2018, I joined John Muir Trust for their work parties in two places in Scotland – one of them being the Outer Hebrides. Among other tasks, we cleaned beaches from plastics. Plastics were entangled and incorporated into beach sediment and washed-up seaweed. What flashed through my mind was that there's no way microplastics aren't in the adjacent soils.
In the second year of my Bachelor's degree, I was in pursuit of someone who would supervise my thesis about microplastics in Hebridean soils. It wasn't an easy task, as nobody in my department did anything with microplastics. Although I had almost everything planned, including the identification method by Zhang et al. (2018), I was about to give up. But finally, Daniel Nývlt agreed to be my supervisor.
Throughout the years, I have enjoyed studying more and more about microplastics in any environment, and more and more research questions have been popping into my mind. I want to help to understand what influences the abundance of microplastics in soils and what we can do about the contamination. I find it very unfair that the ones not responsible for any of this (yes, I mean animals and plants) must deal with the consequences. Because what I haven't said yet is what motivated me to deal with microplastics in the first place. The lecturer in the first semester played us a trailer for the Albatross movie, and the impact of plastics on these birds affected me deeply and permanently.
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