Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Ocean Sciences Conference - A Mind Bender
Dazzled! Completely awed by what I learned today at the Ocean Sciences Conference in Portland, Oregon. I presented with the forerunners of plastic pollution research in the North Atlantic to date done by Sea Education Association. Check out their website and SEA how they combine undergraduate education with open ocean field studies. They have data as far back as 1987 and sailed one million nautical miles. Though not published, yet, their papers are going to rock.
Among others, I learned about quantitative analysis of the plastic accumulation currently taking place on Midway Atoll. Seba Sheavly 's presentation discussed the amount of plastic debris that washes up on one of the most remote islands in the world and yet it is shrouded with plastic pollution. Her data sets point to land-based sources as the culprit from the Pacific Continental Rim followed by mariners. We also got to hear from Miriam Goldstein from SCRIPPS as well as world reknown Hideshige Takada who is studying the Persistant Organic Polluted absorbed by plastics in the marine environment and the implications of it then entering the food chain.
Dr. J. Baker from NOAA kicked off our session setting the bar super high providing an overview of not only where NOAA has been in researching the issues of plastic in the marine environment, but providing details as to why it is important. There were no nappers in this session. I, of course, topped the meeting off by talking about the outreach component of blogging from sea. What good is all this science if there isn't the outreach component to connect science to the general public, right?