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PLASTIC POLLUTION IN THE OCEAN:

Capt. Charles Moore with Marine Debris - 2008 Voyage

Gwen Lattin

Director, Laboratory Research Algalita Marine Research Institute www.algalita.org


Expeditions to the middle of the Pacific Ocean


Where is it going?


Our Study Area


6 Gyre Voyages 1999 – Initial Manta sampling to quantify plastic 2000 – New Manta sampling sites 2002 – New Manta sampling sites + Bongo 10 m & 30 m 2005 – New Manta sampling sites + plastic collected for POPs analysis + deploy tracking system on nets for NOAA 2006 – New sampling sites + small net 2007/08 – New sampling sites + Bongo 100 m + plastic and water samples for POPs analysis + repeat 1999 sampling stations + fish for ingestion study and POPs analysis


THE MANTA TRAWL


Bongo Nets


Cod end of Sampling Net


Particles sorted by size: > 4.7 mm to .33 mm


Plastic is Everywhere – Slide courtesy Dr. Richard Thompson

HAWAII

Canada Canada

England, England UK England

Sweden Sweden

United States

Japan Japan

Hawaii

China

Philippines

Litter left by tourists

Venezuela Venezuela

Antarctica Antarctica

Floating plastic bag

Tanzania Tanzania

Philippines New New Zealand ZealandBeach cleanup


2003 Watershed Study – Plastic Debris Rivers to Sea


DRY CONDITIONS


LIGHT RAIN CONDITIONS


HEAVY RAIN CONDITIONS


What are the impact of plastic in the environment?


A boaters nightmare Plastic debris clogs vessel intakes and tangles propellers. Costs millions of dollars in damage every year.


TOURISM $: No one likes trashy beaches


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Breakfast for the birds


Laysan Albatross Satellite Tracking

Guadalupe Tern Island Incubating & Early Brood Rearing Adults 2003 Shaffer, Tremblay, Henry unpublished data Census of Marine Life, Tagging of Pacific Pelagics


Ingested plastic particle appears to be near maximum possible size


Cover and Protection


Colonized Plastic Particle attracts foragers and transports food


Marine Debris and the “taxi effect”


Marine “taxi� for invasive species: non-biodegradables cross oceans


Benthic interference: Gas exchange inhibited Organisms smothered


Plastics inundate coastal fish nurseries and nesting sites


It’s all part of the food web


RESEARCH: 2008 ALBATROSS STUDIES Laysan Albatross

Black-footed Albatross


RESEARCH: 2008 FISH STUDIES


Stomach contents of a Myctophid

Organic Material

Plastic Fragments


Marcus Eriksen and Joel Pascal sailed to Hawaii on 15,000 plastic bottles and a Cessna 310, to raise awareness about plastic fouling our oceans. June 1 – Aug. 27, 2008

2,600 miles of open ocean crossed in 87 days


Rainbow Runner


ALGALITA MARINE RESEARCH FOUNDATION

www.algalita.org


Algalita Presentation by Gwen Latti