SEA Currents: research at sea
SEA Professor Co-authors First Analysis of All Plastics Ever Made
In order to help guide strategies to confront the problem of plastics pollution, scientists today published the first-ever global analysis of all the plastics made since widespread production began in the 1950s.
The study, published by Science Advances, traces worldwide plastics production, use and what we do with plastic after we’re done with it.
“Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made” was co-authored by Dr. Kara Lavender Law, Research Professor of Oceanography at Sea Education Association, Dr. Jenna Jambeck , University of Georgia, and Dr. Roland Geyer, University of California, Santa Barbara.
SEA alumni present Sargassum findings at Gulf & Caribbean Fisheries Institute conference
Recent SEA graduates Maddie Taylor (C-264) and Corey Wrinn (C-257), and former SEA Associate Professor (and SEA alumna, C-142) Dr. Amy Siuda (now at Eckerd College) attended a meeting of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) in Grand Cayman earlier this month to present the results of their research related to drifting Sargassum.
The GCFI is a forum that brings together scientific, government, and commercial stakeholders to share scientific findings to better understand and manage the marine ecosystem of the Caribbean and Gulf region.
SEA Semester Faculty Report on Sargassum Beaching Phenomenon
SEA Semester in the News
Sargassum Watch Warns of Incoming Seaweed
SEA Semester professors Deborah Goodwin, Jeffrey Schell and Amy Siuda contributed to this Eos article on efforts to track Sargassum - including by satellite and from the deck of the SSV Corwith Cramer - to better understand and mitigate the recent phenomenon of Sargassum beaching events.
SEA Semester students find signs of hope in remote Phoenix Islands
We like to say SEA Semester students adventure with a purpose. Nowhere is that more true than on our recent expedition aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans to the rarely visited Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), in the island nation of Kiribati.
SEA Semester students, crew and scientists, led by SEA Professor of Oceanography Dr. Jan Witting, together with researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the New England Aquarium, sailed 1,600 miles across the Equatorial Pacific from Honolulu to reach the remote archipelago, one of the last coral wildernesses in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
SEA, New England Aquarium collaborate to study Phoenix Islands
Scientists from the New England Aquarium are currently on board the SSV Robert C. Seamans as she approaches the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) with SEA Semester class S-268. Our students and scientists, together with New England Aquarium scientists, will help gather data to help protect this amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site – one of the world’s last remaining coral wildernesses. Dr. Randi Rotjan, Associate Research Scientist at the New England Aquarium, Chief Scientist of the PIPA Conservation Trust and Co-Chair of the PIPA Scientific Advisory Committee, recently sent SEA President Peg Brandon the following letter, which summarizes our unique collaboration and explains why it’s so important….
Video: 2016 National Science Board Public Service Award Recipient
To help spread the word about Sea Educations Association’s National Science Board Public Service Award, presented in Washington on May 5th, the National Science Foundation produced this stunning video.
Marine Plastics Study Gets Noticed by Environmental Journal
It’s been well reported in this blog and elsewhere: vast quantities of plastic and microplastic debris (pieces smaller than 5 mm) have been observed and sampled in oceans around the world. But accurately measuring it, on a global scale, is still a major challenge.
SEA’s Dr. Kara Lavender Law, Research Professor of Oceanography, is doing just that. Working with colleagues at other institutions, she’s employing a rigorous statistical approach to standardize a global dataset and thus better estimate the size and scope of the problem – and gauge the danger it poses to marine life.
SEA Honored with National Science Board Award
Sea Education Association/SEA Semester® is 2016 NSB Public Service awardee.
Today the National Science Board (NSB) announced that Sea Education Association (SEA) would be bestowed with its 2016 Public Service Award.
This esteemed award honors exemplary public service in promoting public understanding of science and engineering. SEA is the sole recipient of the Public Service Award this year.
SEA Plastics Expedition Yields Insight on Marine Species Migration
Floating plastic debris in the ocean may be more hospitable to some marine animals than originally thought, according to a new study co-authored by a SEA Semester alumnus who gathered samples aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans during the 2012 Plastics at SEA: North Pacific Expedition.
The researchers found that the presence of barnacles on large plastic debris creates a more sustainable long-term habitat for rafting species to take hold and thrive on otherwise slippery surfaces, such as spherical fishing buoys commonly found drifting in the oceans.
New Study: Far More Floating Plastics in Ocean Than Thought
Dr. Kara Lavender Law, a SEA Semester research professor of oceanography, co-authored a new study entitled, “A Global Inventory of Small Floating Plastic Debris,” published with international colleagues on December 8, 2015 in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Letters. This study finds larger quantities of tiny plastic bits floating in the world’s oceans than previously estimated. But even this amount accounts for only 1% of plastic that likely enters the ocean annually, and scientists are still working to understand where the rest of it ends up.
The majority of data for this study came from plastic samples collected and analyzed during decades of SEA Semester voyages. Here, Kara discusses what these findings mean for future scientific research directions and anyone trying to make sense of the massive amounts of plastic entering the world’s oceans every year.