HPU Events

Science Pub-Hawaii: Wings Without Borders: Using Seabirds to Track Ocean Plastic Pollution

September 16, 2013 06:00 PM - September 16, 2013 09:00 PM

Location: Gordon Biersch at Aloha Tower Marketplace

Event Type: Science Pub-Hawaii

Science-Pub HI

HONOLULU — Seabird expert David Hyrenbach, Ph.D., found that most of the birds that he examined in his lab had plastic in them. Hyrenbach, an assistant professor of Oceanography at Hawai‘i Pacific University and a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, will share insights about marine life and pollutants at the debut of Science Pub-Hawai‘i, Sept. 16.

In “Wings Without Borders: Using Seabirds to Track Ocean Plastic Pollution,” Hyrenbach will focus on the long-distance impact of litter. In his lab at the Oceanic Institute, he has numerous bottle caps, toys, lighters and more recovered from inside of birds. A piece of plastic digested in Hawai‘i could end up in a dead bird thousands of miles away, observed Hyrenbach.

“Plastic lasts for a long, long time. The ocean currents and wind move the material around. On top of that, the birds go very, very far. These dynamics combine to create a huge dilemma,” Hyrenbach said.

Hyrenbach is a noted expert in conservation and has been interviewed by CNN and NBC News about marine debris stemming from the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

Sponsored by HPU, Science Pub-Hawai‘i begins at 6 p.m. at Gordon Biersch at Aloha Tower Marketplace. It is an informal showcase of research and scholarship for people who like to learn and discuss timely scientific topics. It will feature leading experts in science, technology and more in an interactive environment. For those with an appetite for discovery, Science Pub-Hawai‘i is the place to be every month. No RSVP is needed, so bring friends and your questions about science.