A team of 30 University of California research scientist will set sail from Scripps Institution of Oceanography this Sunday to the Northwest Pacific ocean to study the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The garbage patch is an accumulated mass of mainly small, plastic debris trapped by the North Pacific Gyre that spans across hundred of miles of the Pacific ocean.
The debris ends up concentrated by circular, clockwise ocean currents within an oblong-shaped “convergence zone” hundreds of miles (km) across from end to end near the Hawaiian Islands, about midway between Japan and the West Coast of the United States.
The research team will studying the amount of debris that has been collected, how it is distributed by the North Pacific Gyre, and how it affects the marine life. The marine life the scientist will mainly concentrate on are microorganisms, such as plankton, birds and various types of fish.
Little is know about the scope of impact the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has on ocean and it’s inhabitants and how what affect it does have on lower, food chain organisms. The garbage patch shifts thousands of miles seasonally, which makes studying this suspended field of plastic debris extremely hard.
For more information and futher reading on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, please click through to the full article.