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Sea Education Association Research

"Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution" Papers and Publications


Wilcox, C., B. D. Hardesty, K. L. Law*, 2019. Abundance of floating plastic particles is increasing in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Environ. Sci. Technol. 54, 790-796. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.9b04812

Research themes and publication type: Research at SEA, Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Peer-reviewed publications


Maximenko, N., P. Corradi, K. L. Law*, E. van Sebille, S. Garaba, R. S. Lampitt, F. Galgani, V. Martinez-Vicente, et al. (62 authors), 2019. Toward the integrated marine debris observing system. Front. Mar. Sci. 6, 447. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00447

Research themes and publication type: Research at SEA, Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Peer-reviewed publications


Pieper, C., L. Amaral-Zettler, K. L. Law*, C. Loureiro and A. Martins, 2019. Application of matrix scoring techniques to evaluate marine debris sources in the remote islands of the Azores Archipelago. Env. Poll. 249, 666-675. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.03.084

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Peer-reviewed publications


Green, H., S. Fuller*, A. Meyer*, P. Joyce*, C. Aeppli, R. Nelson, R. Swarthout, D. Valentine, H. White and C. Reddy, 2018. Pelagic tar balls collected in the North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea from 1988 to 2016 have natural and anthropogenic origins. Mar. Poll. Bull. 137, 352-259. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.10.030

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Tar pollution, Peer-reviewed publications


Donohue, J.*, 2018. Overview of the global problem of plastic pollution in the marine environment. Southeast Regional Massachusetts Medical Society (invited speaker), Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Presentations


Croucher, T., 2018. Concentrations of microplastics in correlation to the proximity of coral reefs in the South Pacific. Unpublished student research paper, Class S-280, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Selected student research


Donohue, J.*, 2018. Plastic pollution in the marine environment. Vineyard Conservation Society Annual Meeting (invited speaker), West Tisbury, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Presentations


Law, K. L.*, 2018. Ocean plastics pollution from sources to solutions. Bren School (invited speaker). University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Presentations


Donohue, J.*, 2018. Global occurrence, sources, distribution and fate of plastic in the environment. Ocean Outlook Conference, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Presentations


Law, K. L.*, 2018. Ocean plastics pollution from sources to solutions. Woodin Environmental Studies Colloquium (invited speaker). Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Presentations


Law, K. L.*, 2018. Current state of scientific knowledge. 6th International Marine Debris Conference (plenary panel member), San Diego, CA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Presentations


Law, K. L.*, 2018. Ocean plastics pollution: a view towards the Arctic. Arctic Expert Meetings, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Presentations


Wilcox, C., B. Hardesty, and K. L. Law*, 2018. Revisiting a long-term time series of floating plastics in the western North Atlantic. 6th International Marine Debris Conference, San Diego, CA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Presentations


Donohue, J.*, K. L. Law*, E. Edson^ and K. Tremblay, 2018. Understanding wind-driven vertical mixing of microplastics. 6th International Marine Debris Conference, San Diego, CA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Vertical Mixing of Floating Microplastics, Presentations


Law, K. L.*, J. Donohue*, T. Collins^, K. Pavlekovsky^, J. McDowell^, A. Andrady and G. Proskurowski, 2018. Investigating physical and chemical degradation of plastics using open ocean microplastic samples and laboratory and field weathering experiments. 6th International Marine Debris Conference, San Diego, CA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Plastic degradation in seawater, Presentations


Law, K. L.*, 2018. Transport and fate of marine debris in the ocean and shelf-seas: theory, modeling and observations (session chair and moderator). 6th International Marine Debris Conference, San Diego, CA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Presentations


Wilcox, C., B. Hardesty, and K. L. Law*, 2018. Revisiting a long-term time series of floating plastics in the western North Atlantic. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Portland, OR.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Presentations


Law, K. L.*, 2018. Detection, analysis and modeling of the distribution and transport of oceanic debris (session chair and moderator). Ocean Sciences Meeting, Portland, OR.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Presentations


Donohue, J.*, K. L. Law*, N. Bethoney and K. Stokesbury, 2018. Quantity of plastic debris on the seafloor offshore of the northeast United States. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Portland, OR.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Presentations


Meunier, E., S. Silberman and R. Schreiber, 2017. Ratio of microplastics to phytoplankton in the South Pacific. Unpublished student research paper, Class S-276, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Selected student research


Rozen, J. and C. Coulouvatos, 2017. Plastic in the western North Atlantic. Unpublished student research paper, Class C-275, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Selected student research


Koelmans, A., M. Kooi, K. L. Law*, and E. van Sebille, 2017. All is not lost: Deriving a top-down mass budget of plastic at sea. Env. Res. Lett. 12, 114028. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa9500

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Peer-reviewed publications


Joyce, P.* and J. Donohue*, 2017. Plastics in the ocean: floating islands or invisible threat? Marine and Natural Science Seminar Series. Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Presentations


Law, K. L.*, 2017. Plastics pollution in the marine environment. School for Marine Science and Technology, Department of Fisheries Oceanography seminar (invited speaker). University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Presentations


Geyer, R., J. Jambeck and K.L. Law*, 2017. Production, use and fate of all plastics ever made. Science Advances 3, e1700782. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1700782

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Peer-reviewed publications


Law, K. L.*, 2017. A framework to advance the science of plastic marine debris. German Federal Institute of Hydrology Summer School on 'Plastics in Freshwater and Marine Environments' (invited speaker), Koblenz, Germany.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Presentations


Killian, S., 2017. Plastic ingestion by mesopelagic fish: spatial distribution and comparison to models of plastic convergence in the South Pacific subtropical gyre. Unpublished student research paper, Class S-273, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic ingestion, Selected student research


Law, K. L.*, 2018. A framework to study plastics pollution in the marine environment. The Second International Symposium on Marine Microplastic Pollution and Control (invited speaker), Shanghai, China.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Presentations


Law, K.L*, 2017. A framework to advance the science of marine litter. G20 Workshop on Marine Litter (keynote speaker), Hamburg, Germany.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Presentations


Law, K.L*, 2017. Plastics in the Marine Environment. Annu. Rev. Mar. Sci. 9, 205-229. doi: 10.1146/annurev-marine-010816-060409

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Peer-reviewed publications


Donohue, J.*, 2017. Plastic pollution in the ccean. Cohasset Center for Student Coastal Research Lecture Series, Cohasett, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Presentations


Findlay, K. and W. Harnisch, 2016. Micro- and microplastic concentrations and distributions in the South Pacific. Unpublished student research paper, Class S-270, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Selected student research


Green, H., S. Fuller*, A. Meyer*, P. Joyce*, C. Aeppli, R. Nelson, K. Gosselin, R. Swarthout, H. White, D. Valentine, and C. Reddy, 2016. Tar balls collected in the North Atlantic over the past two decades vary substantially. AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Tar pollution, Presentations


Randall, Y., 2016. Size and form of plastics in the western Mediterranean and eastern North Atlantic Ocean. Unpublished student research paper, Class C-269, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Selected student research


Donohue, J.*, J. McDowell^, K. Pavlekovsky^, T. Collins^, A. Andrady, G. Proskurowski and K. L. Law*, 2016. Polymer characterization and variability in composition of floating microplastics in the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic. 69th Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Conference, Grand Cayman.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Plastic degradation in seawater, Presentations


Pfaller, J. and M. Gil^, 2016. Sea turtle symbiosis facilitates social monogamy in oceanic crabs via refuge size. Biol. Lett. 12, 20160607. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0607

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Peer-reviewed publications


Law, K.L*, 2016. The global budget of floating microplastics in marine systems. German Water Chemistry Society Late Summer Workshop: Microplastics in the aquatic environment (keynote speaker). Haltern am See, Germany.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Presentations


Law, K.L.*, J. Donohue*, T. Collins^, K. Pavlekovsky^, A. Andrady and G. Proskurowski, 2016. Using physical and chemical characteristics of floating microplastics to investigate their weathering history. MICRO Conference: Fate and Impact of Microplastics in Marine Ecosystems: From the Coastline to the Open Sea, Lanzarote, Spain.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Plastic degradation in seawater, Presentations


Donohue, J.*, 2016. Bringing plastic marine debris into the classroom. Massachusetts Marine Educators 40th Annual Meeting, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Presentations


Law, K.L.*, 2016. Plastics in the ocean: floating islands or invisible threat? Planet Ocean seminar series (invited speaker). University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Presentations


Kukulka, T., K. L. Law* and G. Proskurowski, 2016. Evidence for the influence of surface heat fluxes on turbulent mixing of microplastic marine debris. J. Phys. Ocean. 46, 809-815. doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-15-0242.1

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Vertical Mixing of Floating Microplastics, Peer-reviewed publications


Donohue, J.*, K. Pavlekovsky^, T. Collins^, A. Andrady, G. Proskurowski and K. L. Law*, 2016. Variability in the composition of floating microplastics by region and in time. Ocean Sciences Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Presentations


Gil, M.^ and J. Pfaller, 2016. Oceanic barnacles act as foundation species on plastic debris: implications for marine dispersal. Sci. Rep. 6, 19987. doi: 10.1038/srep19987

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Peer-reviewed publications


Van Sebille, E., C. Wilcox, L. Lebreton, N. Maximenko, B. Hardesty, J. van Franeker, M. Eriksen, D. Siegel, F. Galgani and K. L. Law*, 2015. A global inventory of small floating plastic debris. Env. Res. Lett. 10, 124006. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/124006

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Peer-reviewed publications


Amaral-Zettler, L., E. Zettler*, B. Slikas, G. Boyd, D. Melvin^, C. Morrall, G. Proskurowski and T. Mincer, 2015. The biogeography of the 'Plastisphere:' implications for policy.  Front. Ecol. Environ.  13, doi: 10.1890/150017

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, The Plastisphere: Microbial communities on plastic debris, Peer-reviewed publications


Brunner, K., T. Kukulka, G. Proskurowski and K. L. Law*, 2015. Passive buoyant tracers in the ocean surface boundary layer: 2. Observations and simulations of microplastic marine debris. J. Geophys. Res.-Oceans 120, 7559-7573. doi: 10.1002/2015JC010840

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Peer-reviewed publications


Law, K. L.* and R. Thompson, 2014. Microplastics in the seas. Science 345, 144-145. doi: 10.1126/science.1254065

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Peer-reviewed publications


GESAMP, 2015. Sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment: a global assessment. (Kershaw, P. J., ed.). (IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/UNIDO/WMO/IAEA/UN/UNEP/UNDP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection). Rep. Stud. GESAMP No. 90, 96 pp. (K. L. Law*, co-author)

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Other


Van Franeker, J. and K. L. Law*, 2015. Seabirds, gyres and global trends in plastic pollution. Environ. Poll. 203, 89-96. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2015.02.034

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Peer-reviewed publications


Taylor, S.^, K. Cramer, K. Dooley, K.^, W. Lourie^, T. Mincer, L. Amaral-Zettler and E. Zettler*, 2015. Short-term microbial community assembly on plastic marine debris: evidence from experimental colonization studies in the waters of Woods Hole, MA, USA. ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Granada, Spain.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, The Plastisphere: Microbial communities on plastic debris, Presentations


Jambeck, J., R. Geyer, C. Wilcox, T. Siegler, M. Perryman, A. Andrady, R. Narayan, and K. L. Law*, 2015. Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Science 347, 768-771. doi: 10.1126/science.1260352

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Peer-reviewed publications


Taylor, S., 2014. Vibrio in the Mediterranean Sea and northeast Atlantic: Strains in the open ocean and on plastic debris. Unpublished student research paper, Class C-255, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, The Plastisphere: Microbial communities on plastic debris, Selected student research


Law, K. L.*, S. Moret-Ferguson^, D. Goodwin*, E. Zettler*, E. DeForce, T. Kukulka, and G. Proskurowski, 2014. Distribution of surface plastic debris in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean from an 11-year data set. Env. Sci. Technol. 48, 4732-4738. doi: 10.1021/es4053076

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Peer-reviewed publications


Peters, A. and A. Siuda*, 2014. A review of observations of floating tar in the Sargasso Sea. Oceanography 27, 217-221. doi: 10.5670/oceanog.2014.25

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Tar pollution, Peer-reviewed publications


Amaral-Zettler, L., G. Boyd, B. Slikas, E. Zettler*, and T. Mincer, 2014. Comparative microbial community structure and biogeography of Atlantic and Pacific 'Plastisphere' communities. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Honolulu, HI.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, The Plastisphere: Microbial communities on plastic debris, Presentations


Zettler, E.*, C. Morrall, G. Proskurowski, T. Mincer, and L. Amaral-Zettler, 2014. Microbial succession on plastic marine debris: development of the 'Plastisphere' community. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Honolulu, HI.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, The Plastisphere: Microbial communities on plastic debris, Presentations


Mincer, T., V. Guzzetta, B. Slikas, E. Zettler*, and L. Amaral-Zettler, 2014. Investigation of microbial adherence and virulence factors associated with open-ocean derived plastic marine debris: Vibrio bacteria as a model system. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Honolulu, HI.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, The Plastisphere: Microbial communities on plastic debris, Presentations


Law, K. L.*, S. Moret-Ferguson^, E. Zettler*, E. DeForce, and G. Proskurowski, 2014. A synoptic look at eastern Pacific microplastic debris: 11 years of consistent monitoring. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Honolulu, HI.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Presentations


Goldstein M. and D. Goodwin*, 2013. Gooseneck barnacles (Lepas spp.) ingest microplastic debris in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. PeerJ doi: 10.7717/peerj.184

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic ingestion, Peer-reviewed publications


Swinford, J. and E. White, 2013. Ingestion of plastics by myctophids in the North Pacific subtropical gyre. Unpublished student research paper, Class S-248, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic ingestion, Selected student research


Zettler, E.*, T. Mincer and L. Amaral-Zettler, 2013. Life in the 'Plastisphere': microbial communities on plastic marine debris. Env. Sci. Technol. 47, 7137-7146. doi: 10.1021/es401288x

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, The Plastisphere: Microbial communities on plastic debris, Peer-reviewed publications


Duarte, A.^, E. Zettler*, L. Amaral-Zettler, and T. Mincer, 2012. Analysis of plastics in the Sargasso Sea and Vibrio interactions with plastic. Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science Meeting, Seattle, WA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, The Plastisphere: Microbial communities on plastic debris, Presentations


Maloney, J. and D. Perry, 2012. Biofilm growth on macroplastic: Density and diversity of microbial communities on plastic in the North Pacific subtropical gyre. Unpublished student research paper, Class S-242, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, The Plastisphere: Microbial communities on plastic debris, Selected student research


Melvin, W., 2012. Investigation of plastic transporting E. coli in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Unpublished student research paper, Class C-240, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, The Plastisphere: Microbial communities on plastic debris, Selected student research


Kukulka, T., G. Proskurowski, S. Moret-Ferguson^, D. Meyer^ and K. L. Law*, 2012. The effects of wind mixing on the vertical distribution of buoyant plastic debris. Geophys. Res. Lett. 39, L07601. doi: 10.1029/2012GL051116

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Vertical Mixing of Floating Microplastics, Peer-reviewed publications


Hirai H., H. Takada, Y. Ogata, R. Yamashita, K. Mizukawa, M. Saha, C. Kwan, C. Moore, H. Gray, D. Laursen, E. Zettler*, J. Farrington, C. Reddy, E. Peacock and M. Ward, 2011. Organic micropollutants in marine plastics debris from the open ocean and remote and urban beaches. Mar. Poll. Bull. 62, 1683-1692. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2011.06.004

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Peer-reviewed publications


White, R. and M. Holleb, 2010. Abundance of plastics at varying levels in the water column as a result of differing wind speeds. Unpublished student research paper, Class C-231, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Vertical Mixing of Floating Microplastics, Selected student research


Moret-Ferguson, S.^, K. L. Law*, G. Proskurowski*, E. Murphy, E. Peacock and C. Reddy, 2010. The size, mass, and composition of plastic debris in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Mar. Poll. Bull. 60, 1873-1878. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.07.020

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Peer-reviewed publications


Law, K. L.*, S. Moret-Ferguson^, N. Maximenko, G. Proskurowski*, E. Peacock, J. Hafner and C. Reddy, 2010. Plastic accumulation in the North Atlantic subtropical gyre. Science 329, 1185-1188. doi: 10.1126/science.1192321

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Peer-reviewed publications


Trainor, M., 2009. The distribution of tar balls in the wider Caribbean region. Unpublished student research paper, Class C-222, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Tar pollution, Selected student research


Gotfredson, T., 2007. The distribution of pelagic tar along an east-west transect of the Caribbean Sea. Unpublished student research paper, Class C-214, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Tar pollution, Selected student research


Joyce, P.*, 1998. Floating tar in the western North Atlantic and Caribbean Sea, 1982-1996. Mar. Poll. Bull. 36, 167-171. doi: 10.1016/S0025-326X(97)87422-X

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Tar pollution, Peer-reviewed publications


Wilber*, R. J., 1987. Plastic in the North Atlantic. Oceanus 30, 61-68.

Research themes and publication type: Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution, Microplastic abundance and distribution, Other


* SEA faculty and staff
^ SEA Semester alumnus