Monitoring of plastic pollution in the marine environment is crucial due to the grave impacts on marine biota and potentially to human health. (Eriksen et al. 2014) Most plastic marine debris studies are done inside the gyres or dulldrums and it is believed currents transport plastic marine debris to these remote regions. Yet little to no actual field study using surface sampling across the equator, thus little is known about the plastic detritus transported in these ocean arteries.
Pichel (2007) concluded, “A variety of marine animals tend to be concentrated in the same areas as marine debris.” These findings corroborate research done by Polovina (2001) and Seki (2002) showing that marine animals tend to forage in the convergence zone rich in biodiversity and is, unfortunately, accompanied by plastic pollution; thus, increasing the threat of entanglement and plastic ingestion. (Thompson et al. 2008) We will have the rare opportunity to study the equatorial currents as transports for marine debris at the convergence of the northern and southern hemisphere equatorial currents in the Atlantic Ocean.www.plasticoceanproject.org