Thursday, September 27, 2007

September 26, 2007

Today, as we approached the phytoplankton bloom than may be associated with debris, that we were asked to sample by NOAA, two crew members independently reported the occasional odor of red tide, although there was nothing visible in the water from above to indicate an algal bloom. Upon hauling in a 1.5 hour manta trawl, we were shocked to see what appeared to be the highest ratio of plastic to zooplankton ever sampled. It would not suprise me if it was over 1000 to one, plastic to plankton (see photo). We did several other manta trawls, all with orders of magnitude more plastic than our 1999 study. We also stopped to pick up a tire with a heavily rusted metal rim, covered in algae and barnacles. The amouint of larger plastic pieces floating by continues to astound the ship's crew. We took one liter samples of sea water preserved in 1% formalin for later plankton ID, and in the evening, as we made sail during a squall, the crew was treated to a full arch "moonbow," a rainbow illuminated by the full moon, showing dim rainbow colors. Tomorrow we sample an arm of the phytoplankton bloom.
Aloha from ORV Alguita.


Miriam Goldstein said...

This is astonishing (and terrifying). Are you trawling in the same location as your 1999 study? Do you think you're seeing an increase in debris?

Leonardo said...

As I read what Miriam Goldstein siad, it sounds like you've done this before. The question is, just what do you plan on doing balout it...I hope not just get more grants and enjoy a sail from Hilo to the waste site, photo it amn tell us there's a bunch of trash out there...we already know this...NOW, if it's do-able lets clean it up, but happen everyday so the next big thing is to stop it before it gets 1,000 mile away from us. And also remember, there are planners and ther are's easy and profitable to be a's hard to be a doer...but at least you get a joj done. Leonard Vinci

Drew said...

I would love to get more involved with this issue but really want to see some pictures and proof of this continent of garbage can anyone send me info?