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Ocean Plastic and Seabirds

As plastic continues to accumulate in all the world's oceans, how is it affecting the wildlife that calls the sea its home?

Plastic litter has the knack of finding its way into the ocean. Unfortunately this means that seabirds that have, until relatively recently, been safe to assume that the objects floating on the surface are food are getting a stomach full of trash. Shared Planet finds out how bad the situation is for seabirds like the fulmar and the simple things we can do to reduce the problem.

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28 minutes

Trai Anfield

Trai Anfield

Trai's commitment to the environment began whilst working as a Countryside Ranger and studying environmental science. She went on to become a qualified Met Office meteorologist and worked onscreen as a BBC forecaster, video journalist and environment reporter for 12 years. 

 

Trai currently presents on BBC Radio 4's natural history programme Living World, reports for Shared Planet and writes for a variety of publications. She also works as a wildlife photographer and film maker.

 

Twitter: @TraiAnfield

Dr Lucy Quinn

Dr Lucy Quinn

Dr Quinn's PhD research at the University of Aberdeen entailed identifying non-breeding foraging areas of the northern fulmar and investigating whether individual differences in area use affects subsequent reproduction or survival.

 

Her work took her to Orkney, Ireland and Iceland and she is now headed south to Bird Island, where she will spend the next two Antarctic summers working as a seabird ecologist for British Antarctic Survey.

Ewan Edwards

Ewan Edwards

Ewan is a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen College of Life Sciences and Medicine. He is based at the Cromarty Lighthouse Field Station but works in collaboration with the University of St Andrews and Marine Scotland Science. His project is to investigate the impact of commercial fisheries on northern fulmars from Scottish colonies.


Previously, Ewan worked for the British Antarctic Survey as a at Bird Island Research Station, South Georgia.

Dr Jan Andries van Franeker

Dr Jan Andries van Franeker

Dr Jan Andries van Franeker is a senior scientist at the Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies (IMARES) in Wageningen in the Netherlands.

 

He has set up an international network for research of marine litter, involving a highly diverse mix of local volunteer groups, universities and applied research organisations, industry, local, regional and national authorities. Data on the amount of plastic and other litter found in animals is sent to his team to be collated.

Nancy Wallace

Nancy Wallace

Nancy Wallace is the Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program. The Marine Debris Program is the federal lead for researching, preventing and reducing the impacts of marine debris in the United States.

 

Nancy has worked on ocean policy-related issues for the past decade. Her work includes resource conservation with the National Park Service, developing sustainable catch limits for fisheries off the east coast of the United States and efforts to improve water quality in the Gulf of Mexico.

Boyan Slat

Boyan Slat
After diving in Greece aged 16, Boyan Slat became frustrated by finding more plastic bags than fish and wondered: why can't we clean this up?

While at secondary school he decided to dedicate half a year of research to understand the plastic pollution and the problems associated with cleaning it up. This ultimately led to the passive clean-up concept, which he presented at TEDxDelft 2012.

Working to prove the feasibility of his concept, Boyan Slat has given lead to a team of over 100 people, and temporarily quit his Aerospace Engineering study to completely focus his efforts on The Ocean Cleanup.

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