The accumulation of plastic debris in nature is “one of the most ubiquitous and long-lasting recent changes to the surface of our plant” (Barnes et al., 2009) and one of the most pervasive environmental concerns of our time. Recently, plastic has been documented in the Great Lakes at the highest concentrations seen anywhere on the planet. Yet, too little is known about the fate of plastic and its role in ecosystem dynamics to predict the inevitable impacts on one fifth of the world’s fresh water. The Duhaime Lab working out of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department at the University of Michigan is sampling Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie to address this critical knowledge gap. This blog entails updates of the Lab’s adventures, success stories, and struggles as we travel the Great Lakes on the Nancy K.
– Sarah Halperin, UM senior