The students in the Sewanee Island Ecology Program have repeated the studies that I began last year of “trash” on the beaches of St Catherine’s Island, GA. We search standardized transect lines in the wrack on the upper beach.
If our samples are representative of the whole beach, and assuming a 20 meter wide wrack line, a 10 km stretch of beach would have just shy of half a million individual pieces of anthropogenic debris. Foam pieces are the most common (80% of pieces), followed by other plastics. Half of all debris pieces were 2cm wide or smaller. These data only include pieces of debris that are visible on the surface. Much more is likely buried deeper. We did not examine microscopic fragments.
Here are some photos of some of the items we found.
I also made some sound recordings along the beach. The first is made with a hydrophone, a microphone that picks up sounds below the surface of the water. I suspended it in some gentle surf. The second recording is the same surf, but recorded with a regular microphone, in the air, at the top of the beach.
relatively clean beach, eh? wonder if the barnacles on BPA plastics are having hormonal problems?
Barnacles with hormonal problems would be troublesome. They have complicated enough reproductive lives.
Love the first recording, under the surface. Hope this doesn’t sound too macabre, but if I were dying, that is what I would like to hear. What a gentle way to go.
Hopefully the sound of dying is indeed gentle. If wonder if water sounds remind us of the memory of the watery world from which we came (in evolutionary time, and in the shorter timescale of our time in the womb).
sounds like a generator or something going on the 2nd recording or is that pure nature?
I’m just hearing the surf, but there were shrimp boats offshore that were intermittently audible to my ears on site.
I can’t find an audio file.
Are you on a phone? They sometimes don’t show up on phones.