Microplastic biofilm portraits

The following images document the process of sampling microplastics collected from the shoreline of Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center (MCEEC) and culturing the trash for biofilm.  This project was inspired by Water’s Edge, Biome Tells, an interdisciplinary art & science project examines the complexity of microbial communities living on trash in the Chesapeake Bay. Garbage was collected from the shoreline of the MCEEC and micro-organisms from the debris were cultured in my studio laboratory. Initially, biofilm was imaged at the Keith Porter Imaging Facility (KPIF) with fluorescent microscopy, which revealed a diversity of micro-organisms flourishing on human-made products. Micrographs were incorporated into a three-dimensional art piece that displays the debris covered with thriving microbes, ultimately showing the resilience of life in emergent environments created by humans. This project came out of a collaboration with Dr. Tagide deCarvalho, director of the KPIF, UMBC. Confocal images and process can be viewed here.