14 February 2008

Real time blogging from the North Pacific Gyre

Well, it doesn't get much more timely than this: in January I helped herd cats co-moderate a session at the SciBlogCon called Real-Time Blogging in the Marine Sciences (watch the session video). Then, early this month there was a spike of blog posts about the plastic mire in the North Pacific Gyre.

So, you can imagine my delight when Bora sent me a link to a real-time blog in the marine sciences, posted daily from none other than a research expedition to collect the plasticky plankton in the Gyre! It's the blog of the Research Vessel Alguita and here's their gig:
On January 2oth, 2008 ORV Alguita set out on a winter expedition through the North Pacific Gyre, sailing from Hilo, HI to Los Angeles, CA to conduct further research on oceanic plastic debris. The crew of 6 will collect samples for lab analysis, as well as for future Algalita Marine Research Foundation education projects.

Analysis from Algalita's September 2007 expedition shows a five fold increase in plastic quantities in the Gyre since Captain Charles Moore began his research in 1997. This next Algalita Expedition will build upon earlier data, and gather new information to provide a more complete, scientifically accurate picture of the issue's scope.
What a project! And what a blog, too, all full of day-to-day science-ey seafaring adventure!

Okay, okay, so both Oyster's Garter and Deep Sea News got there first but who's competing? This is a very worthy project that should be blogged again and again. Who's next?

Update (17 Feb): My significant other just reminded me of this priceless scene from The Graduate that simply can't not be included in this post...


Rick MacPherson said...

like herding cats, huh?

i thought we were more lemming-like following each other, nose-to-rump, behind kevin!


Sprawling said...

So...I want to help deal with this gyre. As in physically work to lessen it or take the plastic en masse to get recycled. But ... I am not to keen an activist, so I don't know where to look for groups already working on it, or if there even is a plan in action yet? Help a brotha out?

Richard Thombs said...

Sprawling: You might want to visit http://www.algalita.org, who seem to be quite active in this area. Follow up the links on their website too for extra info.

From the reading I've just been doing, it doesn't look like the problem is still being researched - you don't shift quantities like this overnight.