Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Presentations and Plastic Beaches
I finished my second presentation 16 hours after my first here in Bermuda. One at 4pm was at the Wrightsville Beach Surf Camp - Sea Turtle Camp to be exact. I Skyped from Bermuda to Wilmington NC, used a PowerPoint that included videos and the students in Wilmington saw the entire presentation with Q and A following without a hitch. Amazing. The second one was with students from the BIOS (Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences) Camp that is usually a combination of private school students and scholarship public school students. JP Skinner heads up the camp and what an opportunity for these students to participate with one of the finest marine research facilities in the Atlantic. I was honored to speak to these savvy kids. They asked great questions after Dr. Bill Cooper and I lectured for over an hour.
After the lecture and a free lunch we headed to John Smith Bay where we saw a very different beach than we witnessed a year ago. Last year, it was full of Sargassum and mixed in this surfaced dwelling weed were micro plastics that Jennifer O'Keefe pawed through showing us how it serves as a dust mop collecting micro plastics and washing them up on the beach. This time, there was little Sargassum, but what we did find was much like what we find out in the North Pacific Garbage Patch, photo degraded fragments that the ocean spit out on the island inside the gyre boundries. Here is a video that shows just what we saw today all along the wrack line. We don't see this so much, if at all, in North Carolina because the Gulf Stream protects us from micro plastics, in the gyre, and keeps it from washing up on our beaches. But as the volume of plastics in our oceans goes up, so does the possibility of what is happening to Bermuda's beaches will happen on ours and many other beaches.