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.
From August 2-21, 2009, a group of doctoral students and research volunteers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego embarked on an expedition aboard the Scripps research vessel New Horizon exploring the problem of plastic in the North Pacific Gyre. The Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition (SEAPLEX) focused on a suite of critical scientific questions. How much plastic is accumulating, how is it distributed, and how is it affecting ocean life?
SEAPLEX was supported by UC Ship Funds, Project Kaisei, and the National Science Foundation.