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R/V New Horizon  Velella jellies with plastic

Research News

17 April 2014: Ever wanted to know what invertebrates live on floating plastic debris in the North Pacific? Check out this new paper from me, Hank Carson, and Marcus Eriksen. If you don’t have access to Marine Biology, an unformatted version is archived at Figshare. I’ve also written a blog post.

20 Nov 2013: New paper with Andrew Titmus & Michael Ford on distribution and abundance of plastic debris out in PLOS ONE! The data is archived at CCE LTER's Datazoo repository. Also check out Figshare for even more information. There's an informal blog post too.

22 Oct 2013: Deb Goodwin and I have a new paper out on barnacles eating plastic in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. The paper is freely available at PeerJ. I also wrote a blog post about it, which was picked up by The Atlantic, Grist Magazine, Huffington Post Canada, and author Margaret Atwood.

May 2012: My co-authors and I published a paper on how plastic debris is altering open ocean habitats - check it out here!

Research Description

For my Ph.D. at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, I studied the abundance and ecological implications of microplastic debris in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, with a focus on zooplankton and the invertebrates that live attached to floating debris. You can read the abstract or the entire dissertation online

I'm honored that my dissertation won a 2013 Chancellor's Dissertation Medal at UC San Diego.

SEAPLEX: Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition

In 2009, I served as Chief Scientist for a student-led expedition to explore the problem of plastic in the North Pacific Gyre. From August 2-21, 2009, a group of doctoral students and research volunteers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego embarked on an expedition aboard the Scripps research vessel New Horizon exploring the problem of plastic in the North Pacific Gyre. See below for links to SEAPLEX resources and publications.

SEAPLEX Technical Resources

-Technical webpage
-Data archive. Includes NOAA EX1006 cruise & 1970s cruises along with SEAPLEX.
-Additional figures of general interest

SEAPLEX Outreach Resources

-Outreach webpage, blog and Twitter
-Hi-res photos and Flickr photos free for use with credit
-Interactive Google map
-Videos from the expedition
-Lesson plans developed by teachers based on SEAPLEX work.

SEAPLEX Publications

Goldstein M.C., A.J. Titmus, M. Ford. 2013. Scales of spatial heterogeneity of plastic marine debris in the northeast Pacific ocean. PLOS ONE 8:e80020.

Goldstein, M.C. and D.S. Goodwin. 2013. Gooseneck barnacles (Lepas spp.) ingest microplastic debris in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. PeerJ 1:e184 doi:10.7717/peerj.184

Goldstein, M. C., M. Rosenberg, and L. Cheng. 2012. Increased oceanic microplastic debris enhances oviposition in an endemic pelagic insect. Biology Letters 8(5) 817:820. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.0298/. Paper webpage.

Davison P. and R.G. Asch. 2011. Plastic ingestion by mesopelagic fishes in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Marine Ecology Progress Series 432:173-180. Press release.

Titmus A.J. and K.D. Hyrenbach. 2011. Habitat associations of floating debris and marine birds in the North East Pacific Ocean at coarse and meso spatial scales. Marine Pollution Bulletin 62: 2496–2506.

Davison, P. 2011. The specific gravity of mesopelagic fish from the northeastern Pacific Ocean and its implications for acoustic backscatter. ICES Journal of Marine Science 68 (10): 2064-2074.