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Speaking of Plastic

You might have heard a few supposed facts about plastic in the ocean: 1) There is a massive swirling gyre of plastic, the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” between California and Japan that is twice the size of Texas; and 2) this plastic debris outweighs plankton and is growing in size. Interestingly, the scientific literature does not support these statements.

Hard-rock story

Oregon State University Professor Anthony Koppers and Toshitsugu Yamazaki of the Geological Society of Japan were co-leaders of the latest cruise conducted under the auspices of the International Ocean Drilling Program (IODP). Their target:  the Louisville Seamount Trail — a 2,600-mile-long line of underwater mountains in the South Pacific — where they hoped to learn more about the geophysical processes that produce such features as the Hawaiian Islands or the stretch of ancient volcanoes between the Oregon Cascades and Yellowstone National Park.

Big mouths, glowing spines

he scientists’ net is standard equipment in oceanography, but the microbes they catch are anything but ordinary. Gazing at them through a microscope is like visiting a zoo on another planet.