Crews in Great Pacific Race recruited by Adventurers And Scientists for Conservation (ASC) to gather samples of microplastics

Posted on March 20, 2014 in General

First-of-its-Kind Pacific Row Race from California to Hawaii to Contribute to Ocean Conservation

The Inaugural Great Pacific Race and its organizers, New Ocean Wave, have agreed to enlist the support of the 15 ocean-rowing crews to gather the most ambitious set of samples to date for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation’s (ASC) marine microplastics project, across 2,400 miles of Pacific Ocean. The race is the first organized ocean race of its kind on the Pacific, with boats powered only by the bodies of the crew, and will start June 7 from Monterey and finish in Honolulu.

With 100% participation by all 40 people rowing in 15 crews, 30 samples or more will be gathered across 36,000 combined nautical miles for scientific analysis.

Microplastics are pieces of plastic debris 5mm or smaller and, while not visible to the human eye, are a source of serious contamination to marine life. To date, microplastics have been found in greater than 85% of marine samples, according to a recent study by ASC and the Marine Environmental Research Institute, but there is a global need for further sampling and continued research.

When ingested by smaller marine organisms, microplastics and associated toxins can propagate through the food chain, bioaccumulating in larger marine mammals, sea birds and humans. The effects of this microscopic debris are largely un-studied.

“This is a global problem, and we are looking for creative solutions by partnering with the crews of The Great Pacific Race,” said Jordan Holsinger, ASC Scientific Manager. “This historic race provides us the first-ever opportunity to collect data on a massive transect across the Pacific Ocean on a scale that we haven’t been able to before. While we’ve worked with countless expeditions and individuals, the Great Pacific Race is the first large scale adventure race to be an official partner of the ASC microplastics project.”

“Our crews were thrilled to contribute to this effort in the name of science,” said Race Director Chris Martin. “The motivations behind this historic effort are often deeply personal, but all the crews want to protect and conserve the waters in which they row. We found ourselves aligned with the goals of the ASC in bringing the adventure and science communities together for real conservation.”

In addition to participating in ASC sample collections for science, many of the Race Crews are raising awareness for environmental organizations. Daryl Farmer is raising money for Earthrace conservation, a conservation-minded organization, Elsa Hammond is working with Plastic Oceans Foundation, a non-profit committed to the study of plastic ocean pollution. The Pacific Warriors, a mixed 4 team from USA, UK and Australia are supporting Aquarius, a NASA satellite project that monitors and collects surface salinity samples and single rower Mary Rose is rowing to gain attention to the plight of the critically endangered Spix Macaws 86 birds that remain on the planet.

About the Great Pacific Race

The Great Pacific Race is the first human powered race on planet’s largest ocean, the Pacific. The race sees crews of one, two and four row non-stop across 2,400 miles of ocean from Monterey, CA to Honolulu, HI. The boats don’t have sails or engines, instead the crews rely on 100% muscle power to propel the boats up to 100 miles a day towards the finish line. Boats are ruggedly designed and capable of self-righting if inverted by the 40ft high waves that they will encounter during storms. Boats are well-equipped with satellite navigation and communication, anti-collision systems and a water desalination units to provide drinking water, all powered by the solar panels mounted on the cabin roof. The race is run bi-annually and race organisers are already taking entries for the 2016 event. The start is scheduled for June 7th 2014. www.newoceanwave.com

About Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation

Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) was founded in January of 2011 with the understanding that many people traveling in the outdoors genuinely want to do more for the places they visit but often struggle with how to help. Founder and executive director Gregg Treinish, a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer and 2008 Adventurer of the Year, envisioned an organization that would connect the adventure and science communities. ASC exists to bridge the gap by pairing adventure athletes already traveling to some of the earth’s most difficult-to-reach places with the scientists who need information from these areas. ASC also has the goal of creating unique and innovative learning experiences about science while also saving the scientific and conservation communities millions of dollars in data collection costs. For more information visit www.adventureandscience.org