The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – The Science Behind the Hype on Oct 1, 2012

Hello friends!

After a slightly longer than usual summer hiatus, we are coming back on October 1, 2012, with an exciting presentation by Miriam Goldstein, a dynamic young researcher from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She will tell us about her pioneering work on the evolutionary ecology of organisms living in the so-called (and much hyped) Great Pacific Garbage Patch – the “Texas-sized” patch of “soup”, made up of the plastic flotsam and jetsam of our modern lives, caught in the great gyre churning in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Miriam is about to complete her Ph.D. and will soon move into a postdoctoral career where she intends to bring her scientific expertise to bear on shaping policy for ocean conservation. She represents a new generation of scientists who, in addition to actually doing great science, are also committed to communicating science to everyone inside and outside the ivory tower, telling great stories through online and offline media avenues. You may want to read (if you haven’t discovered it already) Miriam’s writing on the fantastic Deep Sea News blog. You can also find her regularly on twitter. This is a talk you are not going to want to miss!

Here’s the abstract of her talk:

While plastic pollution is found throughout the world’s oceans, the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a remote area nestled between the trade winds and the westerlies, has been dubbed the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” Plastic pollution was first detected in this area in the early 1970s and has since become a matter of scientific and public concern. I will present data on the true nature of the “Garbage Patch,” including abundance, distribution, and size of plastic particles. I will also discuss how plastic particles interact with pelagic invertebrates, such as by being directly ingested, acting as a surface for oviposition, and transporting nonindigenous species. Though the large-scale ecological ramifications of open ocean plastic pollution remain unclear, the public is extremely concerned about this issue. I will therefore conclude with my experiences using social media to correct misconceptions and communicate science to broad audiences online.

You can view and download the poster for the event below the fold. Note that we are also trying out a new venue for October’s Café. We will be at the new Cafe Via at the intersection of Blackstone and Herndon avenues in north Fresno.The street address and telephone number are included in the flyer below.

As always, please share this announcement among your friends, and drag them along for what should be fun evening! We look forward to seeing you there to kick of our exciting 6th season.

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