Modified trawler seeking Great Lakes plastic pollution

By on July 24, 2014

Great Lakes from space (Credit: SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE.)


A Great Lakes gillnetter captain is working with University of Michigan researchers to seek new quarry throughout Lake Erie: tiny bits of plastic. Great Lakes Echo reported that the research trip comes amid many states’ consideration of legislation that would ban plastic microbeads from products.

Funded by a $270,463 grant, the research will record where plastic is found and analyze samples to determine how harmful the debris may be on the Great Lakes’ ecosystem. Samples will be gathered from aboard the Nancy K, a trawling vessel converted into a floating field station by its captain David Brooks.

Brooks is a retired engineer who has worked with scientists through the Earthwatch organization for 25 years. To make his boat into a suitable research platform, he installed a generator, a davit, bunks, Apple computers and, notably, a bathroom.

Image: Great Lakes from space (Credit: SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE.)

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