BIOL 271 students contribute microplastic samples to a global microplastic pollution data repository

Students in Fall 2016 BIOL 271 (Janine Clark, Richelle Cremo, Emily Manley, Blair O’Brien, Sydney O’Gorman, Rafael Olan, Jr., Jaime Rinaldi, and Silas Sleeper) (instructor: Kiyoko Yokota) collected beached plastic wastes on beaches on Chichijima (父島), Ogasawara Islands, Japan, during their faculty-lead study abroad in December 2016 to January 2017 as experiential and service learning activities.  The team also collected and contributed sea water samples to the Global Microplastics Initiative ( Our samples covered an area that was not studied by the 2014 Trans Pacific Plastic Pollution Survey by Matt Rutherford and his colleagues ( and provide new insights into the fate of suspended microplastics through the complex ocean currents that travel over the ~ 10 km (~ 6.3 miles) deep Izu-Ogasawara Trench. The final lab results were recently made available by the Principal Investigator Abby Barrows at