By Boris Tsand
For most people, the mention of plastic pollution conjures up images of large garbage patches floating in the open ocean, thanks in part to the proliferation of such images on social media. The public’s preoccupation with these forms of pollution is mirrored in academia; studies in plastic pollution often focus on ocean gyres and open seas, which has led to a better understanding of the distribution of plastic debris in open marine environments.
But Javier Lloret and Rut Pedrosa-Pamies, research scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, have their eyes set on an environment closer to home: estuaries, particularly the series of estuaries at Waquoit Bay.
“It’s a unique ecosystem in that it’s the first line between the inland and the open ocean,” Pedrosa-Pamies said. This makes the area especially prone to plastic accumulation; debris can come from both local sources inland and, due to ocean circulation, sources as distant as the Caribbean. Read more …
From left: Ruby Rorty, Rut Pedrosa-Pamies, Javier Lloret and Nicole Vandal set out from the research reserve’s boathouse after loading their research boat. Credit: Boris Tsand/Cape Cod Times