Marine Debris Pollution Research

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Trans Pacific Plastic Pollution Survey 2014

Our team  completed the first ever continent to continent marine debris survey leaving Sausolito, California for Yokohama, Japan on April 26th 2014, using a high speed trawl net to generate a data set to add to the global understanding of how much marine debris is on the ocean’s surface and to discover how ocean plastics threaten marine life and human health.This project was run in collaboration with our Save or Seas Foundation and with counsel from our partner 5 Gyres. Samples will also be analyzed for persistent organic pollutants (POP) such as PCB’s and pesticides through University of Tokyo’s International Pellet Watch Program. Samples will also be processed at Baltimore Underground Science Space. Water samples will be provided to Marine Environmental Research Institute through the Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation Program.


Anne Arundel County STEM middle students interacted with our team as they crossed the ocean by creating a co-written BLOG. The task was to inform others about problems with plastics in the oceans and possible solutions. To read blog click Here!
We sailed nearly 7,000nm on Sakura a W.D. Schock Harbor 29.  The Harbor 29 is the latest design by WD Schock.  The boat is in many ways an extended version of the classic Harbor 25. By working with WD Schock we were able to complete the longest marine plastics survey in history. Sakura departed after the The Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show in Oakland, California.
Read Matt's BLOG from this expedition! Click here and the STEM Ed Blog Here.



Ocean Research Project - North Atlantic Gyre

6,800 nautical mile survey route

Focus:  Plastic Pollution Survey

A  plastic debris survey was conducted  beginning on the eastern edge of the North Atlantic Gyre using standardized methods to generate a dataset to add to the global understanding of how much marine plastic is on the ocean's surface and to explore further just how plastic threatens marine life and human health. This project was run in collaboration with the 5 Gyres Institute. Samples have been found to contain persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as PCB’s, pesticides, and fire retarndents by University of Tokyo’s International Pellet Watch Program while the type and function of bacteria living amongst the debris is being explored by the Baltimore Underground Science Space.

Monitoring Marine Life

Monitoring marine life within the 6,800 nautical miles expedition proved to not yield any complete detections biotelemetry/bioacoustics scientists to monitor migratory routes of tagged species.

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Trawl Sample yields Plastic Pieces in Sieve

Monitoring the Climate

The vessel acted as a mobile observing platform reporting 4 times a day over 80 days worth of atmospheric and oceanic observations to NOAA as a voluntary observing ship to feed international atmospheric and oceanic modeling databases that depict global weather forecasts, climate studies and in effect support mariner’s safety at sea. Observations were accepted by NOAA’s Voluntary Observing Ship, Ship of Opportunity Program and the Atlantic Oceanic and Meteorological Laboratory. Ten climate observing drifters  were deployed en route and are capable of reporting more than 400 days of data.

Plastic pollution survey data will be compiled, compared and reviewed by peers and jointly published in 2014/2015.  An educational documentary will highlight our experience meeting our objectives and also serve as adventure entertainment revealing unpredicted encounters during our North Atlantic Gyre Project.