The Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch
Cal Poly Science Café
April 17, 2010

A thousand miles off California, the North Pacific Ocean Gyre contains one of the largest ecosystems on Earth — but it may be in danger from a deluge of accumulated plastic trash. Dubbed the "Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch," the debris at the center of the North Pacific Ocean has the potential to damage marine life and alter the biological environment.

Though this issue has recently received popular media attention, there was little scientific information available on the composition, extent, and effects of the debris. The small pieces of plastic that make up most of the material are not detectable by satellites or airplanes.

This is the story, shared by a scientist and a teacher who recently traveled to the Garbage Patch as part of a graduate-student led scientific research expedition, SEAPLEX.
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