Oceans of Opportunity

Astrangia sp., the Northern Star Coral, is beautiful on the outside, but inside indicates a grim reality - microplastics from our 'civilized' world show we're clearly doing more harm than good. Photo by M. Lombardi 2021.

A Plastic Ocean in the Ocean State

In 2017, we co-organized a film screening of ‘A Plastic Ocean‘ with our partner EcoRI News. The event was hosted at Providence Rhode Island’s Cable Car Cinema and was well attended by local environmental advocates and enthusiasts. The film does a beautiful job of presenting a horrific problem that we are now facing – plastics in the ocean.

The plastic problem cannot be dismissed as anything but a human produced product of the anthropocene, and the world is very fortunately starting to take notice.

Since the screening, we have supported specimen collections of our local coldwater coral, Astrangia poculata, for researchers at Roger Williams University and Boston University. Studies have revealed that microplastics are found within the corals, and as such these are one of a few key indicator species of the extent of the plastic problem in a given area. A variety of very exciting studies are underway.

More information…

.: EcoRI article on microplastics
.: Corals Choose Plastic Over Food – Nat Geo article
.: Out of Sight, Out of Mind – Blog Post
.: Waterfire Exhibition, Planet Earth, The Environment and Our Future – feed RI’s official state coral!