Marine Debris

I’ve been working for several years on research and teaching on marine debris.


I’m spending the spring of 2019 (January to June) working at the University of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram, India on marine litter, training students and faculty to collect debris using scientific methods so that they may share their results with local policymakers.


KO photo beachwith students2019-03-19 10.09.38


In spring 2016, under a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, I worked with college students to collect debris on Connecticut’s shoreline. In just a few hours at the beach we collected over 1600 individual pieces of debris, most of it plastic. To learn all about the University of Hartford Marine Debris project, check out the site devoted to that work.

Group photo

Here I am with my amazing UHart students from the 2016 Marine Debris class


marine Debris


I seek to integrate the arts into my policy and science work. In the fall of 2016, I worked with students in a First Year Seminar to create art and outreach materials on the topic of marine debris.  These pieces were created by my students: this is plastic film sewn onto canvas, each measuring five feet by nine feet (or 62 x 108 inches).


First is the laysan albatross, inspired by Chris Jordan’s iconic photo of a dead albatross from the Midway islands. That’s real marine debris in the stomach collected on Connecticut beaches in 2016. Next is the hawksbill turtle. All species of sea turtle are negatively effected by marine debris through both entanglement and ingestion.

These courses are a part of my ongoing work to understand the impact of arts-based and experiential learning on students.



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