Question: What are rope sourcing tips for making a BabyLegs trawl?

warren is asking a question about microplastics
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by warren | July 15, 2019 20:58 | #20119

Max mentioned on Open Hour that the color of the rope in making a #Babylegs trawl doesn't matter, but are there types of rope to watch out for that produce more microplastics that might contaminate the sample? Does using pink (or a color that matches the tights) help to identify such contamination if it gets in the samples? Or is just taping/melting the ends enough to control loose microplastics from the ends of the rope?



I tend to use bright pink/orange rope because we find a lot of rope fragments in our samples here in fishing-land, most of which is white, green, blue, and black. Microplastics can come from the rope when it moves against against the side of a boat, wharf, etc, so taping/melting the ends is only one (major!) source of plastic contamination. Our lab is currently doing research into types of ropes that fragment more/less. I'll let you know more when we know more!

Does the material the rope is made of matter? Have you had any issues with particular types of rope regarding durability to speed/water?

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I noticed that the yellow/orange rope we're using sheds quite a bit, if it's helpful to know. I guess I'd assume a finer rope (pea cord maybe?) would shed less but I really don't know. This isn't a great photo but lots of small particles like this fall off while I'm packing the kits, which I didn't like, so I'd love to upgrade to another type of rope if possible:


Note: wearing black jeans is really good for finding microplastics.

Here's a pic of the rope in a coil:


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Not awesome, but, this is a great way to generate some sample microplastics to look at.

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