Our noon position: Latitude 33 43 95 North, Longitude: 162 50 34 West.
And for those that inquired about our location yesterday: Latitude: 32 30 442 North, Longitude: 165 50 921 West
Winds are blowing a new research opportunity our way, one that occurred to Charles late last night, and which he ran by the crew this morning – meeting with unanimous agreement: To revisit and resample, almost a decade later, the original site from Algalita’s groundbreaking 1999 study, “A Comparison of Plastic and Plankton in the North Pacific Central Gyre”. The study was the first to conduct a comprehensive, quantitative analysis on the amounts of plastic debris in the gyre, including, for the first time, a comparison between the weight of zooplankton and plastic. Most reading this are likely familiar by now with the documented 6 to 1 plastic to zooplankton ratios by dry weight, highly alarming at the time. Many have asked about follow up studies in the area, both to track seasonal (the original study was conducted in August) and geographical changes. The time for this follow up study may be now. The high-pressure cell we’ve waxed rhapsodic about is persisting, allowing us to set our course straight for the original study area, due east. Still a good week away, 900 some miles, but if the weather forecasts hold up, our chances look promising.
As for what we expect to find: you’ll be right there to learn with us. According to Charles, “We really don’t know what we’ll find, in that sense, it’s potentially a discovery voyage again…..”
For Jeff’s father Kent, and anyone else who is charting our progress:
Were currently at 33 46 321 North, 161 49 838 West, and the study area is along the following two transects: 35 45.8 N, 138 30.7 W to 36 04.9 N, 42 04.6 W then 36 04.9 N – 142 04 6 south to 34 04.0 N We will be running the transects in reverse order from the original study published in Marine Pollution Bulletin 42:12
This is without a doubt our major news for the day. Tomorrow we’ll address more of the continued questions about potential health impacts from toxins accumulated in plastic. As Beth, from Fake Plastic Fish (http://www.fakeplasticfish.com/) points out, people often respond to environmental problems when they can see a tangible link to human health. Especially when they perceive a direct threat – ala Mercury content in fish.
Meantime, Aloha and gracias from the Captain and Crew of ORV Alguita.