In addition to the marine debris beach surveys, we also collected water samples for an ongoing microplastics study being done on the east coast. At various places along the way, we would fill a 1-liter bottle with a sea water sample, record our location and the conditions on our sample sheet, and put the completed sample with the others for our return.
It was a strange thing to be paddling around with bottles of sea water in the boat, especially when we had so many other pieces of gear that we had to make room for. And, if you’re wondering if it’s cheap to mail a box of sea water from Alaska to New Jersey, it’s not. It was a good experience though and we’re hoping that our small part in the ongoing study helps scientists to understand and track the tiny pieces of plastic that are out there in our oceans.