Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In the thick of it - Day 9-

Our noon position: 33 00.908 North Latitude, 167 54.150 West Longitude

Another highly successful day for the ORV Alguita. The calm conditions produced by a huge high-pressure zone surrounding us, has meant continued perfect sampling weather, right in our DELI assessment destination zone. Taking advantage of these dream conditions, we sampled three times today, stopping every thirty miles to re-deploy the Manta trawls for two hours at a time.

Our first samples were almost entirely plastic, along with a few fascinating creatures. The image above shows some crew members displaying our morning sample - the plastic plauge in a bottle. No two trawls have been the same – each time we open the collecting bags, it is something of a treasure hunt. Like this unusual, alien-like Nudibranch, which we had to hunt through a marine invertebrate book to identify. For those interested in Nudibranches (sea slugs that lack a shell and a mantle cavity), this one floats upside down at the oceans surface, and relies mostly on passive transport by wind and currents. This is but one of many species were finding daily, swimming about in this thickening plastic stew.

Several students on the had questions about what, if anything, our government is or should be doing about this issue. This is something we will address in the coming week.

Aloha and gracias from the Captain and crew of ORV Alguita.

Anna Cummins, ship's blogger

1 comment:

Edwards Middle School said...

Hi Ship to Shore!
I saw the picture of the sea slug and what you wrote about "relying on plastic transport". Do you mean that if the sea didn't have any plastic in it at all that the sea slugs would not exist? Are they some form of evolution?Thanks
Edwards Middle School
Science Club