LONG BEACH, CA – Captain Charles Moore, the man who discovered the swirling vortex of plastic trash widely known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” will once again sail to one of the most polluted areas of the world-the North Pacific Central Gyre. Moore and the Algalita Marine Research Institute have assembled a highly qualified team of scientists who will live amid the debris for 30 days and study the region beginning in July. The ultimate goal is to evaluate long-term trends and changes in the Gyre by merging data collected over the past 15 years with new 2014 data.
The persistence and increasing quantity of plastic debris, including new arrivals from the Japanese tsunami, have created artificial habitats in the North Pacific Gyre-essentially building “plastic reefs” where sea creatures have made their homes. How have the marine ecosystems impacted the area since Algalita’s first expedition 15 years ago? What have they done to the various species that live there? How are toxic contaminants from plastic transferred to marine life, and what are the consequences for human health?
Algalita’s researchers will investigate the area to find answers. This voyage will result in new and repeat monitoring data needed to make scientific conclusions about the scope and effects of plastic marine pollution.
Since 1999, Algalita has conducted eight research expeditions and produced the longest running data set for the region. The organization, which has participated in similar expeditions in the North and South Atlantic Gyres, South Pacific Gyre, Indian Ocean Gyre and in Antarctic waters, was the first to develop a standard methodology for sampling and analyzing micro-plastic debris from the ocean.
The expedition will also launch the latest live Ship-2-Shore<http://www.algalita.org/ship2shore/> educational program, which uses satellite communications systems to connect students with researchers at sea.
The Algalita Marine Research Institute is a nonprofit organization committed to solving the plastic pollution crisis in our oceans. In 1997, our founder, Captain Charles Moore discovered an area of plastic debris in the North Pacific Ocean known by many as the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch.’ Since then, the Long Beach, CA-based organization has been studying the devastating impact of plastic on our oceans and educating the public. To date, Algalita has collected and analyzed more than 1,114 plastic debris samples from five oceans. The organization reaches thousands of students worldwide every year. For more information, please visit www.algalita.org .