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Imagine being on a boat for a month. No long runs, no quick trips to the grocery store or to see the latest movie, all Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza will be seeing is water and her crew during their journey-and of course garbage in the water.
She is part of a team that is taking a closer look at plastic garbage that is found in the ocean.
The assistant professor of chemistry at UW-Superior left on June 25 for Long Beach, California and on June 26 boarded the Alguita Vessel to go to the North Pacific Gyre on June 29.
Rios said the research is needed and the crew will use some new technology, "The mission is to evaluate the actual amount of plastic in the called "Eastern Garbage Patch" more accurately than 15 years ago using the first time a drone survey for the plastic debris."
Last summer she was on the Great Lakes doing research with fish, water and microplastics. This summer she is turning her attention to the ocean.
Before they departed, Rios was excited about what the mission of the trip was all about. "We will study the development of "new ecosystems" and dispersion of plastics in the water column. The verification of fish ingestion of plastics, collection of community organisms, and the collection of plastic debris for the analysis of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The POPs analysis will be developed here at UW-Superior."
Algalita Marine Research Institute (AMRI) is coordinating the trip and the Clean Our Ocean Refuge Coalition is a partner supporter.
Rios is an advisor and researcher with the (AMRI) according to their website. Here is her bio from the organization:
Dr. Lorena Rios received her Ph.D. in Sciences in Coastal Oceanography (Marine Electrochemistry) and her M.S. in Sciences in Coastal Oceanography (Marine Environmental) from the University Autonomous of Baja California (UABC), Baja California, Mexico. She received her B.S. in Chemistry from University National Autonomous of Mexico (UNAM), Lorena served as a visiting researcher and professor in chemistry and Courses of Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry for the America chemical Society in the Chemistry Department at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA. She was a Faculty of Marine Sciences at UABC-Mexico.
She is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at University of Wisconsin Superior. She is conducting environmental chemistry pollution of emerging micropollutants as synthetic microplastics debris in the Oceans and the Great Lakes environments. Her work has included the analysis of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in sediments, tissues, water, and plastic debris. MIcroplastics ingested by fish.
Rios full bio on the Algalita website: http://www.algalita.org/about-us/bios/lorena-rios.html
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