UM Scientists Participate in Testing of Ocean Pollution Cleanup System

UM Scientists Participate in Testing of Ocean Pollution Cleanup System

By Diana Udel

UM Scientists Participate in Testing of Ocean Pollution Cleanup System

By Diana Udel
UM Rosenstiel professor and graduate student provide expertise on fish behavior for project

MIAMI—University of Miami (UM) scientists will participate in a Sept. 8 testing expedition on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch for the world’s first ocean cleanup system, a large area of plastic debris between Hawaii and California.

UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Professor David Die is providing expertise as a research collaborator to the California-based The Ocean Cleanup project, which will launch its system for the first time from San Francisco Bay for initial testing. 

“Our role is to investigate whether the system acts as a fish aggregating device, attracting fish to the cleanup device or to the floating debris being accumulated by it,” said Die.

Die will be monitoring these aggregations with a combination of acoustic and visual sensors that will be fixed to the ocean collection barrier and mounted on a remotely operated vehicle. Die is a scientific expert in population dynamics of highly migratory fish in the open ocean and their behavior in relation to fish aggregation devices.

UM Rosenstiel School graduate student Briana Gibbs will be onboard the The Ocean Cleanup vessel during the expedition to collect data on fish aggregations. Gibbs’ research is partially supported by The Ocean Cleanup. 

A live stream of the deployment will begin at noon PDT / 3 pm EDT / 9 pm CEST on Sept. 8.