First map of floating plastics to help save baby turtles

Jun 18, 2012
First map of floating plastics to help save baby turtles

(Phys.org) -- A PhD student at The University of Western Australia is creating the first map to show the distribution of floating marine plastics in Australian waters, and models that chart the likely pathways of these plastics and sea turtle hatchlings.

"The early life of occurs at the ocean's surface, where there's an increasing amount of floating plastics that are proving fatal to hatchlings," Julia Reisser said.

Ms. Reisser, who is also a CSIRO researcher, has been studying sea turtles for nine years and in 2010 she broadened her research to include marine plastics.

"My work is identifying the places contributing most to the increase in plastics in Australia's oceans and how this links to sea turtle ," Ms. Reisser said.

"We're quantifying plastic pollution hazards and its distribution throughout Australia's oceans, and contribute to a national audit being undertaken by CSIRO's Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship."

The research is been undertaken onboard the Marine National Facility vessel Southern Surveyor, which is owned and operated by CSIRO, and available to all .  Securing research time on board is highly competitive and allocated to quality science projects that are internationally peer reviewed and in the national interest.  Once major voyages are allocated, the transit time between these is offered to early career researchers and students under the ‘Next Wave' program.

"It's an incredible experience as a PhD student to be the Chief Scientist onboard Southern Surveyor for a transit voyage, and to have access to a research vessel equipped with modern laboratory facilities and deep-water research technology," Ms. Reisser said.

The Southern Surveyor will be replaced in 2013 by Investigator, a new state-of-the-art 93.9-metre research vessel capable of spending up to 300 days a year at sea, and able to support scientific research across the oceanographic, climate, geological, fisheries and ecosystems disciplines.

Explore further: Aging Africa

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Getting to the bottom of the Fijian Ocean

Jun 13, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Scientists will soon have a greater understanding of the dramatically spreading, rifting and faulting boundary of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates, thanks to research from The Australian ...

Ancient climate secrets raised from ocean depths

Feb 01, 2008

Scientists aboard the research vessel, Southern Surveyor, return to Hobart today with a collection of coral samples and photographs taken in the Southern Ocean at greater depths than ever before.

East Coast gliders yield valuable marine life data

Feb 28, 2011

The influence ocean eddies have on marine life in the oceans surrounding Australia’s south-east is expected to become clearer after scientists examine data from new deep-diving research ‘gliders’ ...

Active submarine volcanoes found near Fiji

Jun 19, 2008

Several huge active submarine volcanoes, spreading ridges and rift zones have been discovered northeast of Fiji by a team of Australian and American scientists aboard the Marine National Facility Research ...

Recommended for you

Aging Africa

Aug 29, 2014

In the September issue of GSA Today, Paul Bierman of the University of Vermont–Burlington and colleagues present a cosmogenic view of erosion, relief generation, and the age of faulting in southernmost Africa ...

NASA animation shows Hurricane Marie winding down

Aug 29, 2014

NOAA's GOES-West satellite keeps a continuous eye on the Eastern Pacific and has been covering Hurricane Marie since birth. NASA's GOES Project uses NOAA data and creates animations and did so to show the end of Hurricane ...

EU project sails off to study Arctic sea ice

Aug 29, 2014

A one-of-a-kind scientific expedition is currently heading to the Arctic, aboard the South Korean icebreaker Araon. This joint initiative of the US and Korea will measure atmospheric, sea ice and ocean properties with technology ...

User comments : 0