Today I awoke to the crunching sound of our ship’s hull breaking through the pack ice. The pristine ice here is breathtaking. It is the brightest white and turquoise I have ever seen. You might notice that I am squinting in all of my photos! The Arctic is BRIGHT!
I was was so happy to be able to assist scientists and underwater specialists Maya Santangelo and Paolo Marra-Biggs conduct a plankton tow and use an underwater ROV. We will analyze the contents of the plankton tow sample tomorrow under a microscope to see if there is any evidence of marine micro-plastics. Ocean plastic is estimated to kill millions of marine animals every year. Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by it. Some are harmed visibly—strangled by abandoned fishing nets or discarded six-pack rings. Many more are probably harmed invisibly. Marine species of all sizes, from zooplankton to whales, now eat micro-plastics, the bits smaller than one-fifth of an inch across.
Do YOU think we will find evidence of mirco-plastics in this remote part of the ocean? What does it mean if we do?