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Press Release 10-149

Marine Scientists, Students Find Widespread Floating Plastic Debris in North Atlantic Ocean

Undergraduates working through the Sea Education Association (SEA) play major role in discovery

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Map showing 6,100 offshore locations where students of SEA collected pieces of plastic.

Students at SEA collected tens of thousands of plastic pieces at 6,100 offshore locations.

Credit: Sea Education Association


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Photo of the SEA ship Corwith Cramer with all her sails set.

The SEA ship Corwith Cramer with all her sails set; the research was done aboard the Cramer.

Credit: SEA/Roman Shor


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Photo of the surface plankton net used to sample marine organisms and plastic debris.

Close-up of the surface plankton net used to sample marine organisms and plastic debris.

Credit: SEA/Leslie Peate


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Photo of a hiking boot floating in the North Atlantic subtropical gyre.

A hiking boot floating in the North Atlantic subtropical gyre, as this whirling current is known.

Credit: SEA/David M. Lawrence


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Photo showing discarded bits of floating plastic brought up by a net-tow.

A net-tow brings in unwelcome objects from the sea: discarded bits of floating plastic.

Credit: SEA/Giora Proskurowski


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Photo showing hand-picking of plastic pieces millimeters in size.

Plastic pieces millimeters in size are hand-picked from a sample collected with a plankton net.

Credit: SEA/Marilou Maglione


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Photo of a plastic bucket found drifting in the North Atlantic.

This plastic bucket, carrying biological growth and fish, was found drifting in the North Atlantic.

Credit: SEA/Skye Moret


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Photo of two triggerfish caught far from their natural range with the plastic bucket.

Two triggerfish with the plastic bucket were caught hundreds of miles from their natural range.

Credit: SEA/David M. Lawrence


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Photo showing algae and other invertebrates that overgrow floating plastic debris.

Algae and other invertebrates overgrow floating plastic debris.

Credit: SEA/Skye Moret


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Photo of a plankton net towed through the North Atlantic to collect plastic debris.

Birds'-eye-view of a plankton net towed through the North Atlantic to collect plastic debris.

Credit: SEA/Giora Proskurowski


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Cover of the August 20 issue of Science.

The researchers' findings are described in the August 20 issue of the journal Science.

Credit: Copyright AAAS 2010


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