Far from the cities and landscapes we all know is an ocean that, despite its immensity and apparent resilience, is constantly affected by human activities.
The plastic we see on the beaches of Gaspé or Punta Canna is only a small portion of the garbage floating beyond the shores. We have observed this sad reality aboard the Sedna IV, and it has made us realize just how great an impact humans have had on this great blue expanse.
On this June 8, World Oceans Day, the crew of the Sedna wishes to pay homage to that which is our highway and our daily landscape, whose colours and sparkle change constantly with the light.
The ocean bears our vessel from country to country, from port to port, on its mission to inspire passion for nature. We are witnesses to the beauty of marine life, but also to the pollution that floats among it.
During a meeting with scientists from the Sea Education Association, we learned that marine science is showing with increasing accuracy the impact of plastic pollution on living organisms.
Here is one recent and surprising discovery: an entire miniature ecosystem is developing around the plastic particles floating in the ocean; scientists even have a name for it, the “plastisphere.” It is a veritable microscopic community, including algae, algae eaters, small predators, and parasites. Not only are they attached to the plastic, they eat it! These living organisms are actually breaking down the oceanic plastic debris.
This discovery may explain why the amount of plastic debris in the oceans has not increased since their studies began, while plastic production has quadrupled.
But many questions about the “behaviour” of this plastic and its unsuspected impacts remain unanswered. To protect the ocean, we must first realize just how fragile it is.
You’ll also meet the researchers who are busy trying to find solutions to various specific problems, as you watch an interactive presentation on their research and share their passions. The final stop in the Base Camp is an area where people post what they are doing for the planet.
Common name : blue shark
Scientific name : Prionace glauca
Length : 3.8 m
Weight : approximately 200 kg (400 lb)
Population : unknown
Distribution : in tropical, subtropical and temperate ocean waters
Issue : excessive exploitation
IUCN Red List status : near threatened