While not necessarily the most glamorous-sounding research topic, the expedition that Queen's University graduate student Bryson Robertson is getting ready to embark on should provide some much-needed information about the health of coral reefs and the extent to which our oceans are being littered with trash. Yes, you heard that correctly: Bryson left yesterday, July 1, with some friends to begin a three-year journey during which he will mostly be documenting the presence of garbage both in the sea and washed up on beaches.
Conducted through the Queen's Center for Water and the Environment (CWE), the OceanGybe Global Research and Outreach Expedition will, in addition to measuring marine pollution, use modeling to study the effects of bathymetry (ocean topography) on the breaking characteristics of swells. Through his trip, Robertson hopes to help raise awareness about the deteriorating conditions of the world's oceans and to encourage global action to work towards a more environmentally friendly, sustainable future.
“Our voyage will take us through every major ocean on Earth, to some of the most pristine and untouched coasts, but also to some of the most heavily polluted and destroyed ocean environments," said Robertson. "By identifying and displaying the vast effects that pollution has on our oceans, and on those who rely upon the ocean for their livelihood, we hope people will start to realize their personal impact and take more care in how they live their lives on a day-to-day basis."
You can keep track of Bryson's progress through the OceanGybe website. Their journey, starting off in La Paz, Mexico, will take them through the South Pacific island chain and eventually to New Zealand, where they will make a short stop before deciding on their next step.
Via ::PhD student to set sail on study of ocean’s garbage (press release)