The Great Pacific Race (GPR) is the biggest, baddest human endurance challenge on the planet. Ocean row boats of one, two and four compete against each other in the world’s first rowing race on the Pacific.
On June 7, 2014 teams from around the world set out on a 2,400-mile journey on the world’s largest ocean from Monterey, California to Honolulu, Hawaii, an epic journey lasting 30-90 days. The boats carry no sails or engines, and are moved only by the muscle of the crew.
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Microplastics come from several sources: They can weather from larger marine plastic debris like drink bottles, commercial fishing gear or shopping bags; they’re laundered from nylon clothing; and they wash down the drain with many common cosmetics. Once in the ocean, the particles attractant other toxins. Resembling plankton, they’re often ingested by marine life and may eventually move up the food chain to larger fish, birds and mammals.
Samples from this project will allow us to understand the extent and distribution of this harmful pollutant, especially in the open ocean, and will allow us to make strides to clean up our oceans and reduce the amount of plastics finding their way into them.
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There is a lot of open ocean between California and Hawaii that very few people will every visit. As the adventurous GPR crews brave the elements to row across the Pacific they present an incredible opportunity to understand the the distribution of microplastics in the open ocean. Each crew will be collecting open ocean samples during the race to assist in this important research.