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Plastic

This category contains 28 posts

Ocean plastic pollution damages bacteria that help us breathe

Every minute, we are dumping a garbage truckload of plastic litter into the ocean. Plastic pollution in the ocean are threatening not only millions of marine animals (whales, sharks, turtles and birds), but also marine plants. Toxic materials from plastic are affecting the ability of marine plants to produce oxygen that we breath. Jiwoon ParkI […]

SURFO Special: Scouting out marine plastics on the shores of Guam

Plethora of plastic pollution! Every year, large amounts of plastic are being deposited into our oceans as a direct result of human activities. It is up to us to understand what drive marine plastic with the hope to reduce waste in our waters. Katherine BarrettKate is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Biological Sciences […]

Is There Plastic in Paradise?

Tropical islands like the Maldives have always been viewed as untouched paradises for most people, but what lies beneath the crystal-clear waters? For the first time, scientists examine the island of Naifaru, Maldives in search of tiny bits of plastic, known as microplastics. Elena GadoutsisI didn’t take the typical marine biologist path. I started my […]

Menacing microplastics hamper hermit crab choices

How can little bits of plastic in the ocean impact a hermit crab’s ability to make decisions? Microplastics can be found from the deep sea to the coasts and they can affect everything from animal health to cognition. Julia ZehI am a PhD candidate at Syracuse University studying marine mammal communication. My research focuses on […]

Is our plastic dependence accelerating climate change?

  Reference: Royer, Sarah-Jeanne, Sara Ferrón, Samuel T. Wilson, David M. Karl. “Production of methane and ethylene from plastic in the environment.” PloS One 13, e0200574 (2018). Doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0200574 Plastic? What’s the big deal? Since the 1950’s, over 6 billion tons of plastic have been produced globally. Less than 10% of plastic is recycled, and […]

You are what you eat: Microplastics travel from food to the brain

Oceans are full of microplastics. These tiny plastic particles end up in the stomach of marine animals. Now, scientists have discovered that microplastics can travel from the stomach of velvet swimming crabs to other organs – including the brain. Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the […]

Sunlight May Stimulate Breakdown of Ocean Plastic

A new study suggests that one form of plastic might not take as long to break down in the ocean as previously thought. Emily ChuaI am a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University where I am developing an underwater instrument to study the coastal ocean.  I have a multi-disciplinary background in physics and oceanography (and some […]

Traces of human plastic pollution in ocean sediment

Is the plastic we produce being stored in our oceans’ sediments? To answer this question scientists studied a sediment core from the Santa Barbara basin dating back to 1836. Samantha SettaI’m a PhD student in the Rynearson Lab at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO). My research interests are focused […]

Giant Clams vs. Small Plastics

Microplastics are found all throughout our oceans. But in the Red Sea, there are a lot less. Find out how giant clams could be a culprit for getting rid of small plastics. Arossa, S., Martin, C., Rossbach, S., & Duarte, C. M. (2019). Microplastic removal by red sea giant clam (Tridacna maxima). Environmental Pollution. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2019.05.149 We use […]

A boon to ocean conservation? Certain fungi can degrade marine plastics

Brunner I, Fischer M, Ru ̈thi J, Stierli B, Frey B (2018) Ability of fungi isolated from plastic debris floating in the shoreline of a lake to degrade plastics. PLoS ONE 13(8): e0202047. About a year ago, I decided to make a move towards reducing my plastic consumption. Working in environmental conservation leaves you with […]

There’s plastic in your tap water, beer, and table salt

Kosuth M, Mason SA, Wattenberg EV (2018) Anthropogenic contamination of tap water, beer, and sea salt. PLoS ONE 13(4): e0194970. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194970 You’ve seen it; plastic bottles discarded on the beach, photos of marine life starved on a diet of plastic straws, shopping bags adrift in a flotilla of single-use refuse. Plastic changed the world when […]

Turtles in the Trash: How microplastics are washing up where turtles breed

Like plastic bags and other larger plastic pieces, these insidious micro particles can make their way into animal digestive tracts and pollute the places they live. This pollution is what concerns Doctors Beckwith and Fuentes, from Florida State University. If microplastics are spreading through the ocean, what does this mean for the future of sea […]

Important oyster-producing region of British Columbia swamped with microplastics

  If you grew up in the developed world, chances are you have an intimate relationship with plastic. Your lunch container, your childhood toys, your coffee press, that sweater you just bought, and the packaging it came in – they’re all made of low-cost petrochemical derivatives. And they’re swamping our oceans in a pollutant the […]

A Swirling Sea of Plastic

Check out this article detailing how currents and eddies in the ocean help determine plastic pollution distribution! Melanie FeenI am a first year graduate student at the Graduate School of Oceanography at University of Rhode Island. I use robots and satellites to research the biological carbon pump, which is a series of processes that transfer […]

Microbe Mishap: Microplastic Pollution on the Coast of China

Marine plastic pollution has vast negative effects on the environment and human health. Microbes on the plastic may be transferring disease-causing microorganisms around the ocean or reducing the plastic’s toxicity. Researchers studied these plastic associated microbes on the coast of Shanghai, China. LeAundra JeffsI am a Master’s Candidate at University of Delaware where I study […]

Plastics increase disease risks for corals

You have probably heard about the troubles coral reefs are facing and about the detrimental effects of plastic pollution in our oceans. Now these two issues appear to be linked: corals are getting sick when they come in contact with plastic. Find out more here. Ashley MarranzinoI received my Master’s degree from the University of […]

Wake up and smell the marine awareness…on social media?!

Close your eyes and imagine your favorite beach, or a memorable coast you have visited, completely free of litter-that’s right, no plastic bottles, no garbage, no microplastics, no wandering potato chip bags. Is this vision possible? Take a moment, or 3, and see what you can do to reduce marine pollution! Katherine BarrettKate is a […]

Paper or plastic? Policies inspired by research to find a solution to plastic pollution

Paper or plastic? In a lot of grocery stores, this is an innocent question, but recently it’s become a controversial issue. We talk about how plastic pollution research has inspired a barrel of policies, and some of the creative new ways people are trying to clean up the earth! Laura ZinkeI am a PhD student […]

Microplastics demystified: a review examining how these tiny plastics act in pollutant transfer

Paper: Lohmann, R. Microplastics Are Not Important for the Cycling and Bioaccumulation of Organic Pollutants in the Oceans—but Should Microplastics Be Considered POPs Themselves? 2017. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 13, 460-465. DOI: 10.1002/ieam.1914 Not so fantastic plastic The development of plastic revolutionized daily life. We owe our convenient modern lifestyle to these polymers in […]

The end of the line for ocean plastics

A team of researchers set out on an Expedition around the Arctic Ocean to prove what scientists have long suspected: plastic debris is carried by ocean currents to a far corner of the Arctic Ocean where it reaches a dead end and is causing a massive plastic pile up. Veronica TamsittI’m a PhD student at […]

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