School Email Exchange

How would researchers study the amount of denser plastics in the middle and benthic zones?

Posted on October 19 2012

Question submitted by Bainbridge High School

We were given the opportunity to try out a net system called the MOCNESS that can sample different depths of water.  One of the goals of this cruise is to investigate whether wind and wave action can drive the floating plastic below the sea surface.

Members of the science watch deploy the MOCNESS to look for plastic below the sea surface.

We know there are types of plastic that don't float.  There is an instrument called a sediment trap that ocean researchers use to measure the amount of particles, such as detritus and perhaps plastic, that fall to a certain depth or to the ocean floor.