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The creatures in the night

September 29, 2009

During the last two samples we’ve taken after dark, the net has come back full of strange purple creatures, hundreds of them that are the size of poppy seeds.

One sample was so full of these little critters that Gwen and Jeff had trouble unscrewing the end of the net from the manta trawl because it was clogged with the stuff. No one on board knows what these creatures are but we seem to have come across a midnight bloom of them.

For all of my Stanford friends who asked about conspiracy theories, these creatures could be the spawn of some alien life form, sent down to earth to multiply in the ocean before tackling world domination (end sarcasm here).

In reality we simply don’t know what they are. But every single sample has come back with plastic fragments. And so, when the last manta trawl was completed today at 4am, it became apparent that there is still just as much plastic in the garbage patch as there was ten years ago.

Moore believes there’s more plastic now than in ‘99 and after Gwen counts all of the plastic samples back in the lab, we’ll know for sure. It’s a sad state of affairs that we’ve seen just as much plastic as fish or plankton. I’ve definitely seen more plastic than fish on this trip, which in the middle of the ocean is tragic.

Photo by Lindsey Hoshaw

Photo by Lindsey Hoshaw

Photo by Lindsey Hoshaw

Photo by Lindsey Hoshaw

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