Thursday, February 25, 2010

Message in the Waves on Planet Green

Message in the Waves is a must-see. Here's a link to the website about the movie.

Posted by Jennifer O'Keefe

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?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Great news for those who enjoy the Sun . . .

. . . but hate putting harmful chemicals in the ocean from sunscreens. It has been reported that sunscreens may play a role in the deterioration of the coral reefs. Well here's a bit of good news -tropicalSeas has developed not only a biodegradable sun screen claiming not to harm the coral reefs, but it comes in a 100% recyclable plastic applicator - from top to bottom. Nice to have some good news to share! We can promote the proactive companies that produce these environmental-friendly products by sharing this info and making sure we buy them even if they cost a little extra. Save your skin while saving the planet, we're worth it.

Photo Lindsey Hoshaw N. Pacific Garbage Patch

Saturday, February 6, 2010

As I Witnessed in the North Pacific 3,460 Nautical Miles

In 1958, Don MacFarland and a group of friends made a raft and sailed from California to Hawaii. In 2008, Marcus Eriksen and Joel Pascal did the same. This video describes the drastic difference in their experiences. In the end, we are removing the fish by over fishing and replacing them with plastic. Not to mention, plastics put an added strain on the marine life populations due to entanglement and ingestion of plastics that often lead to slow painful deaths.

One of the most surprising things to me while we were out at sea for a month was the lack of marine life. I didn't see ANY sea turtles, whales, dolphins, sharks or schools of fish. The only time I saw fish was when there was a large plastic item in the ocean like ghostnets or barrels. Think about that, a month at sea and I didn't see hardly any fish and not one marine mammal. Watching this video made me realize what I experienced may be a sign of a sea change.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Research into the Atlantic Continues with

It's been less than a year since Jennifer O'Keefe and I reported the accumulation of marine debris and the plastics with bite marks found on Bermuda's beaches as well as the plastic particles that we found in the Atlantic trawls like what was found in the Pacific Garbage Patch. Now, Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins with Algalita Marine Research Foundation as well as Joel Pascal (JUNK) have taken on this research to bring awareness that confirms our finding with the BIOS cruise from last July.

This crew aboard the Sea Dragon is taking it one step further and sailing from Bermuda to the Azores in attempt to locate the accumulation zone in the Atlantic like what Captain Moore located in the Pacific.
With the appropriate funding, we hope to retrace their steps to this possible accumulation zone to compare their finding from this winter cruise to our summer '10 cruise. Follow their several blogs on the link below. Its packed with their findings. For example, on the blog you'll find possible evidence that one of the most pelagic fish in all our oceans, the trigger fish that feed the larger fish in the food chain, (the fish we eat) may be eating our plastic.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Agalita and will be on Good Morning America

Watch Good Morning America tomorrow morning (Wed. Feb. 3) to be brought up to date on the 5 Gyres Project and Algalita's recent research on plastic pollution.

Please check your local listings for more information.

Way to go Algalita, Marcus Erikson, and Anna Cummins!