Monday, December 29, 2014


PLASTIC AHOY: INVESTIGATING THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH follows the journey of SEAPLEX (the Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition) in Summer, 2009. The research team traveled by boat, to an area far out in the Pacific, where plastic seems to collect. They team wanted to know:

  • How much plastic was in the garbage patch?
  • Were fish eating the plastic, and if so, was it harming them?
  • Were the chemicals used to make the plasticpoisoning the water?
  • Did plastic impact the food chain

The book focuses on the work of three oceanographers- Miriam studies how plastic affects the tiny organisms that "raft" (hitch rides) on larger  organisms, Darcy Taniguchi studies phytoplankton, tiny one-celled plants, that are the first link in the ocean food chain,  and produce one half to two-thirds of the world's oxygen, and  Chelsea Rochman studies how chemicals from plastics affect the fish. None of the three totally answer their original questions, instead, the book truly demonstrates how imprecise science can be and how much perseverance it takes to be a scientist- the oceanographers' original questions require further study, their original questions raise new questions,  or the original questions prove unanswerable and they have to start over.

Readers will be totally captivated by the full-color photographs that capture everything from the day-to-day life on a research boat (what do you do when the pop machine doesn't work?) to the types of nets and other tools the researchers use, to their portable laboratories.

The book ends with a practical list of ways kids can help, e.g. carry your own take home box to restaurants, and wash and reuse plastic cutlery, and also ways they can be ocean educators for their peers. End matter includes a glossary and list of other resources

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