Understanding The Island Of Garbage

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | August 28, 2009 12:27 pm

3856010901_1c3fdf142e.jpgRemember the voyage to the island of garbage in the North Pacific Gyre? It’s a unqiue collaboration between Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) and the nonprofit Project Kaisei. Known as SEAPLEX (Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition), the marine scientists on board are attempting to quantify hundreds of miles of floating plastic debris and determine the effects it may have on marine life.

I’ve just heard from Miriam Goldstein–intrepid chief scientist of SEAPLEX–about the huge SIO grad student-driven communication effort surrounding this cruise. They are working to involve the public in cutting-edge research through a website, mission blog, live Tweets from the ship, and the very cool set of Flickr project photos!

The SEAPLEX team has been featured on Science Friday, CNN, Reuters, Yahoo News, NBC San Diego, the Irish Times, and ScienceBlogs! It’s a wonderful initiative–not only because it’s intended to protect the environment and increase public understanding of oceans issues, but also in that it serves to highlight the kind of ‘New Scientists‘ we celebrate!

CM and I are following along with great interest…



Comments (5)

  1. Thanks, Sheril! We really appreciate the kind words! I should also add that the outreach component of SEAPLEX was inspired by the same SIO class that you & Chris were lecturing in a couple weeks back, which I took 3 years ago. The class is part of the Marine Biodiversity IGERT at SIO.

  2. Tracy

    Thank you for your research. I am including your information in my references and footnotes for an artilce I am writing about plastics. This was extremely helpful. If you know of other expeditions, please let me know. I would like to include as many as I can.

    Thanks again!



Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry. Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.com For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at srkirshenbaum@yahoo.com.


See More

Collapse bottom bar