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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Research Students  /  Chiara Bancone

Chiara Bancone


Department of Geography 
University College London
North-West Wing
Gower Street


Twitter: @chiarinabnc

Professor Neil Rose (UCL)
Dr Robert Francis (KCL)

Dr Michael Chadwick (KCL)
Dr Simon Turner (UCL)
Dr Anne Jungblut (NHM)

Funded by: London NERC DTP

Current research

Title: Temporal and spatial distribution of microplastics in the sediments of UK rural and urban lakes

Abstract: Microplastics are persistent environmental pollutants characterised by heterogeneous physico-chemical properties, and resulting in very heterogeneous effects once they enter aquatic systems. Due to their small sizes (<5 mm), plastic particles can be ingested by a wide variety of aquatic organisms, potentially transferring toxic compounds across the food web. Although microplastic pollution is present throughout aquatic ecosystems of the world, there is limited research on lentic waterbodies. There is an urgent need to correct this as such waterbodies, in particular lake sediments, may represent a sink for microplastics. This project will examine the spatio-temporal variation in sediments of UK urban and rural lakes, and consider the environmental implications. The identification of plastic polymers, together with the assessment of microplastic spatial distribution and seasonal patterns of accumulation in lakes will help identify factors influencing microplastic distribution and pollution sources for lakes.


Impact: The results from this project will deliver a better understanding of the number and scale of sources of microplastics in urban and rural lakes, improving future risk assessments and prevention strategies.


  1. Assess the historical record of microplastics in the sediments of UK urban and rural lakes
  2. Analyse the spatial distribution of microplastics within a lake to assess factors influencing transport and storage
  3. Analyse the role of different sources of microplastics in urban and rural lakes
  4. Assess microplastic composition stored in the lake sediments in order to investigate the main sources of contamination in both urban and rural lentic systems
  5. Use state-of-the-art analytical methodologies to determine the most efficient microplastic identification methods
  6. Highlight seasonal variations in microplastics distribution and abundance in the lakes examined


Academic Qualifications

2017 – Present, University College London
London NERC DTP PhD Candidate

2015 – 2016, King’s College London
MSc in Aquatic Resource Management (Distinction)
MSc Dissertation: ‘Microplastic uptake and retention in the polychaete Aphrodite aculeata in the Clyde Sea area’.

1998 2005, University of Genoa, Italy

BSc (Hons) Environmental Sciences (Specialised in the marine environment)

BSc Dissertation: ‘Methylmercury speciation in marine environmental samples’.

Selected Work experience

2018-Present Committee member for the organisation of the Broadly Scientific Seminars, UCL

2015 – 2017 Committee member of the Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM), London and South East branch

March 2017 – September 2017 Environmental Report Writer at Gardline Geosurvey Limited

Impact and Publications

Invited Talks

August 2018: Presentation, laboratory and field assistance on Sutton Trust Summer School “Urban Landscapes and Ecosystems” Course, at King’s College London

April 2017: Q&A Panel after the screening of the film "A plastic Voyage", organised by the UCL

conservation Group.

November 2016: Lecture at Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM), London.


Link to my page on the London NERC DTP website: