Altered Oceans: the Crisis at Sea

Posted on August 19, 2006  Comments (5)

Extensive LA Times series on Altered Oceans: the Crisis at Sea by Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling. Excellent.

Part 1 (of 5): A Primeval Tide of Toxins “Runoff from modern life is feeding an explosion of primitive organisms. This ‘rise of slime,’ as one scientist calls it, is killing larger species and sickening people”

Part 4: Plague of Plastic Chokes the Seas:

Their flight paths from Midway often take them over what is perhaps the world’s largest dump: a slowly rotating mass of trash-laden water about twice the size of Texas.

This is known as the Eastern Garbage Patch, part of a system of currents called the North Pacific subtropical gyre. Located halfway between San Francisco and Hawaii, the garbage patch is an area of slack winds and sluggish currents where flotsam collects from around the Pacific

Nearly 90% of floating marine litter is plastic — supple, durable materials such as polyethylene and polypropylene, Styrofoam, nylon and saran.

About four-fifths of marine trash comes from land, swept by wind or washed by rain off highways and city streets, down streams and rivers, and out to sea.

I have been unable to find a decent photo of this garbage patch – please post a comment if you know of one.

5 Responses to “Altered Oceans: the Crisis at Sea”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Sea Urchin Genome
    November 10th, 2006 @ 9:54 am

    The sea urchin represents the first sequenced genome from the echinoderms, which are the closest known relatives of the chordates, the group that includes vertebrates, animals with spinal columns. The genome includes analogs to many essential human genes that were previously thought to be exclusive to vertebrates…

  2. Arctic Sharks
    December 9th, 2006 @ 9:13 am

    “The Greenland shark typically inhabits the deep, dark waters between Greenland and the polar ice cap…”

  3. CuriousCat: Deep-Sea Alien Abode Discovered
    May 18th, 2007 @ 3:36 pm

    “Recent expeditions have uncloaked this polar region, finding nearly 600 organisms never described before and challenging some assumptions that deep-sea biodiversity is depressed…”

  4. CuriousCat: Vast Garbage Float in the Pacific Ocean
    November 5th, 2007 @ 11:58 pm

    “studying and publicizing the patch for the past 10 years, said the debris – which he estimates weighs 3 million tons and covers an area twice the size of Texas – is made up mostly of fine plastic chips and is impossible to skim out of the ocean…”

  5. Image of Map Showing Concentration of Life in Oceans » Curious Cat Science Blog
    April 26th, 2011 @ 9:11 am

    The nutrient-rich areas include coastal regions where cold water rises from the sea floor bringing nutrients along and areas at the mouths of rivers where the rivers have brought nutrients into the ocean from the land…

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