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Abby Barrows

Marine scientist-Researcher-Oyster farmer




Surrounded by the ocean

I grew up and currently live on an island off the coast of Maine. The ocean has been my passion driving my personal and professional path. I hold a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tasmania and a Master of Philosophy in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic.

Directing microplastics research since 2012, I initiated the first baseline data map of microplastic pollution distribution in Maine. Recently, I concluded my work as the Principal Investigator for the Global Microplastics Initiative with Adventure Scientists .  Through the help of citizen scientists, we compiled one of the largest global datasets on every ocean and continent in the world, enabling a rare glimpse at the extent of plastic contamination in remote, understudied ocean and fresh waters.

My interests are in research, field methodology, education and utilizing scientific data to drive policy and legislation to reduce single-use plastic globally.


Peer-Reviewed Publications

Barrows, A.P.W., Christiansen, K.S., Bode, E.T. and Hoellein, T.J. (2018) A watershed-scale, citizen science approach to quantifying microplastic concentration in a mixed land-use river. Water Research 147, 382-392.

Barrows, A.P.W., Cathey, S.E., Petersen, C.W. (2018) Marine environment microfiber contamination: Global patterns and the diversity of microparticle origins. Environmental Pollution 237, 275-284.


Miller, R.Z., Watts, A.J.R., Winslow, B.O., Galloway, T.S., Barrows, A.P.W. (2017) Mountains to the sea: River study of plastic and non-plastic microfiber pollution in the northeast USA. Marine Pollution Bulletin 124, 245-251.


Barrows, A.P.W., Neumann, C.A., Berger, M.L., Shaw, S.D. (2017) Grab vs. neuston tow net: a microplastic sampling performance comparison and possible advances in the field. Analytical Methods. Advance Article. DOI: 10.1039/c6ay02387h


Bar-Ness, Y.D., McQuillan, P.B., Whitman, M., Junker, R.R., Cracknell, M., Barrows, A. (2011) Sampling forest canopy arthropod biodiversity with three novel minimal-cost trap designs. Australian Journal of Entomology. 51(1):12 – 21


Baine M.S.P., Barrows A.P.W., Ganiga, G., Martin-Smith, K.M. (2008). Residence and Movement of Pygmy Seahorses, Hippocampus bargibanti, on sea fans (Muricella spp.) Coral Reefs. 27:2  Pp. 421


Barrows A.P.W., Martin-Smith K.M., Baine M.S.P. (2009) Population Parameters and Life History Characteristics of the Alligator Pipefish Syngnathoides biaculeatus (Bloch), in Papua New Guinea. Journal of Fish Biology. 74: 4 Pp 806-819.






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