Contact Us

Scripps contacts:

Mario Aguilera or Annie Reisewitz
Tel. 858-534-3624
Email: scrippsnews@ucsd.edu

Project Kaisei contacts:

Doug Woodring
doug@projectkaisei.org
+852-9020-3949 – Hong Kong

Mary Crowley
mary@projectkaisei.org
+1-415-332-4681 – San Francisco

George Orbelian
george@projectkaisei.org

Responses

  1. Your trip sounds like the trip of a lifetime. I wonder why the entire ‘Vampire Squid’ wasn’t preserved? Do you anyone on board who could have dissected the squid immediately to see what the cause of death was?? Such as foreign objects fatal to a squid? I’m sorry that such an opportunity was bypassed. I would guess the group wouldn’t even need a professional ‘medical examiner;-) to open, examine and photograph a dead squid. Then the remains could have been returned to the sea and perhaps you would have had some evidence of man’s perfidy.

    • The entire squid was preserved. It died within hour of being brought up in net. When the live squid came up in the net, he was placed in the aquarium temporarily so that everyone could look at him and take pictures (live vampire squids aren’t exactly something that most people come across everyday!). However, this squid had an incredibly difficult day (huge change in ambient pressure, light levels, and temperature). This is too much stress for virtually any organism to survive. So, a dissection was not necessary to determine the cause of death.

  2. Will the vampire squid be preserved in any way? Can you learn anything about the squid after it’s death?

  3. Hello everyone,
    I’m a layman who in another life would be onboard with you during this most important research. I just heard of your cruise from a CNN article posted today however, I have known about this floating garbage mass for over a year now after reading a Green Peace article on the subject. In fact, it motivated me to start a personal crusade against the use of disposable plastic mostly in the form of one time use containers.

    I wish you good luck in your research and look forward to following your work in the weeks to come.

  4. Sounds like a great voyage! Will you be able to determine what impact all that trash is having on the marine mammal population by simply observing live animals? What is your plan to study the impacts, if any, on whales and other marine mammals? Thanks.

    • This cruise is not really designed to study the direct impacts of the debris on marine mammals. In order to understand the impacts, one would need to analyze stomach contents. However, we are studying the base of the food chain (phytoplankton, zooplankton, and small fishes). The ways that these organisms are impacted will impact the amount and types of food that are available to the marine mammals. We are also doing marine mammal observations, which will tell us if marine mammal abundances are associated with areas of high plastic abundance.

  5. Just finishing off a manuscript on all the northeastern Pacific records of Architeuthis. Would be very interested to see the beak and other body parts when they come back to Scripps to confirm the identification. Where was the sample collected? How will tissue be preserved? Would a sample be available for DNA analysis to add to our study of giant squid in the Pacific? When are the specimen parts expected to arrive at Scripps?

    Thanks for any information that is available.

    • The sample was collected at 32 21.647 N 122 19.182 W. I am not exactly sure how the tissue was preserved. I assume that most of it was put into formalin, but maybe some was stored in ethanol so that genetics would be possible. I can try to find out for you. The cruise gets into Portland, Oregon on August 21. The samples should arrive back at Scripps within a week after that. Perhaps you should contact the SIO Pelagic Invertebrates Collection, where all of the SEAPLEX samples will be placed, to see about getting access to the samples.

  6. Saul Zazueta Period 6…. I think that the job that you guys are doing in regards to researching the large garbage patch will help us in the long run, thank you for caring for our planet. ROCK ON!!!

  7. SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF FUN!!!!
    KEEP IT CLEAN FOR LOTS MORE YEARS OF GREAT DIVING!!!!!!!

    YOU GUYS ROCK!!!

    Thanks and Aloha

    Larry Sartore

  8. Hello New Horizon Crew,
    I am equally horrified and fascinated by the Garbage patch, so I am very interested in your daily blogs. I can read about all the amazing things you are doing out there, and feel a part of the expedition. Each day, each one of you are teaching me something new about our ocean environment. Just wanted to thank you all for that. Not only are you doing something about making this a better world, you are inspiring other people to do so as well. Oh, and by the way, any interesting whale encounters so far?

    Mucho mahalo,

    Debbie Bushong

    P.S. Go Chelsea! I’m so proud of you, my dear!

    • I know that they have seen some dolphins, but I don’t know which species. I’m not sure what the marine mammal observers are seeing farther from the ship.

  9. helloooooo my name is linoshka rodriguez and im a senior at chula vista highschool :). My chemistry teacher Ms. Bassett (wooooohoooo) told our whole class about this problem i never heard about it before and i think its pretty cool that you guys are sailing all the way out there to see whats going on… save the sea life!!!!!!!!! :)

  10. MY NAME IS ELIZABETH MARQUEZ AND IM A SENIOR AT CHULA VISTA HIGH MY TEACHER MS.BASSETT ENCOURAGED US TO REVIEW YOUR WEBSITE AND BE AWARE AND WELL EDUCATED ON WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE SEA WORLD WE CURRENTLY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR,WHAT I WANTED TO KNOW IS WHO FOUND OUT ABOUT THIS PROBLEM NOT MANY WERE AWARE OF?

    • This issue was brought to the public’s attention largely due to a sea captain named Charles Moore and the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. They have done a great job of raising awareness of the issue for the public and for scientists.

  11. I have some questions based upon a personal hypothesis that the particulate matter in the gyre may be behaving like a cloud formation, perhaps even taking a cyclonic shape. Do the particulates in your study have the net effect of more absorption, or reflection of sunlight (especially in the IR frequencies)? If so, what is the effect on temperature in the water column in the affected region versus regions without the particulate cloud? If the net effect is more IR absorption, is the ocean surface growing warmer in the affected region? And if the particulates are shading the deeper areas, are the deeper areas becoming colder? Is there a more sharply defined thermoclime layer, or has the depth of the thermoclime changed in the affected region? Would be interesting to know in view of current climate change models, and for biological analysis of the potential effects on sea life in the affected region. (warmth=more phytoplankton, but blocking sunlight = less phytoplankton, and phytoplankton being the ‘bottom’ of the food chain?)

    Also: if the particulate cloud reduces the depth of sunlight penetration into the water column, what is the effect on phytoplankton? Are phytoplankton becoming restricted to shallower depths due to this theoretical reduction in sunlight? If so, what would be the projected net effect on the local fauna in the upper and lower extremes of the water column?

    Thank you for your time and study.

    • I am not sure, but they have been getting vertical temperature profiles several times a day, so this is something that could be addressed pretty easily. To my knowledge, your particular question has been addressed with regards to plastics. As far as the biology is concerned, in the gyre, phytoplankton growth is limited by nutrients, not by light or temperature, so I don’t think that it will be severely impacting the productivity of the system.

      • Thank you for your time and answer. I look forward to the results of your continued samplings. Very interesting project. I understand part of your mission is to look for future methods of recovering the plastics / cleaning this mess up. Given the small size of the particulates, do you think there is a viable method of filtering / recover of the particulates without impacting the life forms which are living in / on the plastic material?

  12. WELL I GO TO CHULA VISTA HIGH SCHOOL AND MY TEACHER MRS.BASSETT TOLD US WHAT WAS HAPPENING. I THOUGHT THAT WAS PRETTY SCARY. WELL I WENTED TO KNOW HOW LONG THE GARBAGE PATCH IS? ALSO HOW BAD IS THE PLASTIC AFFECTING THE SEA ANAMIALS?

  13. Will you guys be watching the meteor shower?

  14. Aloha Alison and thank you for your reply that stated…. “This issue was brought to the public’s attention largely due to a sea captain named Charles Moore and the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. They have done a great job of raising awareness of the issue ……..”
    Capt Moore inspired our “startup” company to look at the way we do our packaging and I must say it has been an interesting journey.
    Love the updates and it would be cool to have some members of the crew do a presentation at Algalita’s Fund Raising Event on Oct 25 this year.
    Ocean of Thanks from all of us involved in ocean conservation.
    Ric and Terry Kraszewski
    La Jolla CA

  15. Great expedition. Based on the Project Kaisei team page, I’d really love to get reactions to what you’re seeing from team members Jim Dufour (Scripps) and Ed Kosier (Swinburne Univ.), the plastics and rubber guy. Any chance we’ll hear from them in the near future?

    • They aren’t on the New Horizon. I think that they are on the Kaisei tall ship. There is a blog from that ship as well that you can get to via the Project Kaisei website.

  16. I am an entertainer in Mobile, AL. I have always been fascinated by aquaculture. As detrimental as the plastic can be it appears it is as much a haven and habitat for many organisms especially for plankton fauna. I do wonder about the affects of digestion by organisms especially the larger animals. Have you seen any floating fish spore possibly with plastic bits that may have passed though an animal’s system? I read that some of the larger pieces offer shade among other things. The barnacles or mussels attached to the floating stuff was more proof of plastic as habitat not just waste-it seems to be serving a beneficial purpose. Are you checking the water for microscopic plastic bits? like pollen grains are now studied in the current and fossil records? Besides checking stomach contents do you check the contents of the entire GI tract animals you dissect? May your seas be smooth and the trade winds favorable.

    Debra Lewis/STAR KARAOKE
    Mobile, AL (Central Gulf Coast)

    • The entire digestive tract of the dissected animals will be studied. For the most part, fecal pellets from the fish and other animals sink. Also, they are pretty fragile, so that isn’t really something that we are set up to study on this cruise. There are ways to look at that and there may be some plans to work with that in a laboratory setting after the cruise. The plastic does serve as habitat, but that doesn’t mean that it is a good thing. Many of the animals (like mussels) don’t have natural population in the middle of the ocean. By giving them a habitat, it allows them to be in places where they don’t really belong which can change ecosystems through changes in competition for food or space or by introducing invasive species into new habitats.

  17. I understand the importance of research on the patch and its effects on the systems around it; also please excuse my rather simple observation, maybe I missed some previous vital information; however: there is no doubt this pollution is detrimental to the environment, so would there be any way several ship could be fitted as garbage collectors and just go pick this mess up? Please, don’t just look at it, marvel in disgust over it, collect samples and turn around and leave it there. We know it is already killing wildlife, clean it up, please! Can somebody tell me if anything is being done about this?

    • Since most of the plastic is the same size as the marine life, it will be quite a challenge to clean it up without killing everything. Our collaborators, Project Kaisei, are exploring the possibilities. But basic research, like the kind done on the SEAPLEX voyage, is critical to understanding how to approach this – you can’t clean something up if you don’t know where it is, how big it is, and what the collateral damage will be.

  18. I went to the sign up for e-mails site but I could not where to sign up. Is this it? If so would you please sign me up. Thanks.

    • We are no longer sending email updates. New info will go out on our Twitter, or on this blog. Thanks for your interest!

  19. There must be some sort of legislation in place to prevent or at the very least hold accountable those responsible for this, why has this been able to occur and why is there no legal ramifications being publicised? Thank you

    • Hello Tiffany,

      The plastic in the North Pacific Gyre is a perfect example of non-point source pollution. That means that there is no obvious responsible party. The plastic comes from all around the Pacific Rim – floating trash that falls off the west coast of North America or the east coast of Asia will end up there eventually.

      There is international law prohibiting further dumping of plastic debris at sea. But there is no legal penalty for trash that is already in international waters because no single party or country is responsible.

      Hope that helps!

      • Hello, I’m late to the party but very interested in the topic, specifically whether the plastic can be traced back to manufacturers or distributors–are there labels or other identifying marks on the plastic or is it too broken down to retrieve this information? Have any efforts been made to trace the “provenance” of the plastic? Thank you! Katherine Wychulis

  20. Greetings, My name is Alejandro, I’am an athelete, pilot, inventor and I have a plan to raise big money and a plan to make a DENT at the Garbage patch in the Pacific. If you want to “seriously” talk, please send me an e-mail. I don’t want to waist your time AND my time. Thank you AG.


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