During April of this year while in Panama City Beach, I collected water samples for Marine Environmental Research Institute or MERI through a group called Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. ASC gives nature lovers a chance to collaborate with scientists in an effort to preserve our natural habitats. Their goals as stated on their website is,
- Be the most efficient provider of hard-to-attain environmental data.
- Grow a network of informed advocates intimately involved in hands-on conservation.
- Serve as an invaluable connector between the conservation and outdoor communities.
The process of collecting the samples was fun and easy.
I tested the temperature of the water. Next, I used my compass to find my coordinates and answered a few brief questions about the wind scale. Finally, water was collected in a bottle and sealed with a foil lined cap. Off the samples went in the mail, the cost of which ASC/MERI offers to reimburse with proof of receipt.
What is MERI and ASC interested in researching in the coastal waters? Microplastics. Partilces of plastic so small they are not visible to the naked eye. Microplastics are ingested by our sea-life which inevitably makes it’s way to us. No bueno! You can learn more in depth about the project here at http://www.adventurescience.org/microplastics.html. Also, NPR covered the project here.
“Yanique Richards collected three liters of water from the Gulf of Mexico while walking on the beach. In total, they contained 33 pieces of plastic, with an average of 11 pieces per liter. All plastic was categorized as filamentous, and ‘other color’ and blue were the most common colors.”
Thank you for reading! Happy Summer!!