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Science Results : Daily Update
Daily Update | Current SEA Research
July 14, 2010
By Giora Proskurowski
Plastics at SEA: North Atlantic Expedition 2010 is now over, and it was a thorough success. We accomplished exactly what we proposed to do: travel to 40°W – over 1000 miles east of where SEA has been sampling plastic for 22+ years – and map the distribution of plastic debris along a saw-toothed cruise track nearly 4000 nautical miles in length.
Incredibly, on this voyage we stopped every 30 nautical miles for a scientific station – always a neuston tow, and often a CTD as well as a Tucker trawl. While we clearly didn't find the eastern boundary of the Atlantic's region of high plastic concentration, we have established an important baseline for plastic debris research in the Atlantic.
At the same time, this trip was very enjoyable, and a memorable community formed on the Cramer. Our volunteer crew were extremely motivated to do all the ship's work, were meticulous in lab, and were overwhelmingly upbeat and cheerful. I couldn't have asked for better shipmates and labmates. The talents, teaching, and hard work of our professional crew were integral to the success of this expedition. Lastly, the work of my colleague and collaborator, and the Principle Investigator on this project, Kara Lavender Law, helped make this expedition, and this website, a reality.
This trip would not have been possible without the funding provided by the NOAA Marine Debris Program and NFWF, and the additional support of our outreach activities from the Doherty Foundation, the plastics industries of the American Chemistry Council, and the SEA Trustees. Patagonia provided our volunteer crew with much appreciated apparel.
That is all for now – however, there will soon be more exciting news to come from our plastics research team at SEA.--------
Read an article in today's Boston Globe about the Plastics at SEA Expedition.
Where does the plastic and other marine debris come from?
How is plastic debris in the ocean measured?
What does this plastic debris look like, and what kind of plastic is it?
Where are these "garbage patches" in the ocean and how big are they?
Why is plastic in the ocean a problem? Does it affect marine organisms?
What happens to the plastic? Does it break down? Is anyone going to clean it up?
What is being done to address marine debris in the U.S. and around the world?