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Plastics in the Ocean - with Giora Proskurowski (UW Oceanography)

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Wed., Apr. 24, 2013 | 6:15 – 8 pm
$5 at the door; FREE for Burke members and UW students, staff, and faculty with UW ID

On April 24, discover the impact of plastics on the world's oceans with Giora Proskurowski from UW Oceanography.

While working on a research sailboat in the Pacific Ocean, UW Oceanography Research Scientist Giora Proskurowski observed water littered with confetti-size pieces of plastic debris, then the wind picked up and the particles disappeared.  After taking subsurface samples at a depths of up to 16 feet, he discovered that wind was pushing the lightweight plastic below the surface. That meant that decades of research into how much plastic litters the ocean, conducted by skimming the surface, may in some cases vastly underestimate the true amount of plastic debris in the oceans.

Giora graduated from Amherst College with a chemistry major, but was lured to the earth sciences with the prospects of using chemistry to study deep-sea hydrothermal vents. He got his masters and PhD from the University of Washington in chemical oceanography, studying the connections between biology, geology, and chemistry at deep-sea hot vents. Following a post doctoral fellowship at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, he joined the faculty at Sea Education Association where he began applying his interdisciplinary oceanographic skills to plastic marine debris. In 2010 he came back to the University of Washington, and splits his research time between deep sea hydrothermal vents and surface ocean plastics.

Come to one talk, or come to all; all lectures are open to the public!
Click here to see more upcoming talks in the series.