Flotsam and jetsam

Marine debris found in 1 by 10 meter transects along the wrack line on St Catherine’s Island, GA. Each photo is the collection of all man-made objects greater than 1 cm long within the transect. These were collected this morning by students in my part of Sewanee’s Island Ecology program. This exercise can be thought of as proto-archaeology or a study of the ecological slip-stream of a successful vertebrate species. The mayo jar with fossilizing mayo still present within was my favorite find.

For a closer look, click on the photos.

For recent news on debris that is too heavy to wash ashore, see here.

18 thoughts on “Flotsam and jetsam

  1. Michele Johansson

    The diapers drive me nuts…I mean COME ON people would you throw one in your drinking glass??

    Reply
  2. Jim Markowich

    Oy. This reminds me of a week spent on Little Cayman Island at the end of 2009. Surveying the shorelines, we bought large garbage bags, and preceded a swim or snorkel from any remote, little beach there with a bag-filling pick-up of flotsam. The bag would go back in our rental car and then into the dumpster next to our cottage… hopefully headed for a landfill, where the plastic bits could spend the next 300,000 years of their existence.

    Reply
    1. David George Haskell Post author

      An excellent project. Souvenirs of humanity’s visit to the planet? It is possible that your samples are now vaporized: islands sometimes burn their trash due to limited landfill space.

      Reply
  3. pete saussy

    can’t tell from the pic of the mayo jar but hope it was Duke’s the only proper mayo down here

    Reply
    1. David George Haskell Post author

      Why thrown away a needle when you can reuse it and share with a friend? Shudder. We found none, perhaps because these beaches are so far from sources and the needles all sink??

      Reply
  4. mowque

    I recently went to North Carolina, near Beaufort. I was astonished to find NO litter on the beach. After years of reading reports like this, I was very surprised to see nothing. Nothing washed up, nothing left by other guests…Was I just lucky or does NC have few trash problems?

    Reply
      1. mowque

        Is that unusual to see no garbage of any kind on a beach facing the ocean? It had alot of sea shells so stuff was washing up …..

        Reply
  5. David S Johnson

    In my Massachusetts marsh a student project yielded over 1500 pieces of mostly plastic trash and some very fine old glass bottles. Mostly around the wrack line. When I bring high-school kids out to the marsh I use marsh trash as a visual form of pollution to demonstrate how the watershed is connected to the estuary as pollution carried by wind or water to the sea. Especially mylar balloons. The marsh is very good at catching balloons, which come in by both water and wind. Better than by turtle I suppose.

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Washed up | Ramble

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