I have been very curious about the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch for some time now. While it has flown under the radar of most people and the mainstream media (shock!), it hasn’t been forgotten by the scientific community. Recently, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography began a project called SEAPLEX that seeks to examine the massive collection of plastic trash in a specific part of the Pacific Ocean about a 1000 miles off the coast of California. The group seeks to study its effects upon the ecosystem, particularly on the smaller organisms such as plankton, small birds, small fish, and other microorganisms.
“The concern is what kind of impact those plastic bits are having on the small critters on the low end of the ocean food chain,” Bob Knox, deputy director of research at Scripps, said on Monday after the ship had spent its first full day at sea…
Besides the potential harm to sea life caused by ingesting bits of plastic, the expedition team will look at whether the particles could carry other pollutants, such as pesticides, far out to sea, and whether tiny organisms attached to the debris could be transported to distant regions and thus become invasive species.
The things that we are doing to our oceans are staggering. If you account for pollution, overfishing, the effects of global warming, etc. it is impossible to deny that our lives will be drastically different in the near future.
For more information on the SEAPLEX Project, check out the website.