I am a physical oceanographer by training, and have been studying the sources, distribution, behavior and fate of plastic debris in the ocean for the past decade. In more than 12 months of sea time on oceanographic and sailing research vessels, I have witnessed first hand the accumulation of tiny microplastics, and also larger debris, in both the eastern North Pacific and western North Atlantic Oceans in the so-called “garbage patches”. My current research interests focus on the sources of plastic to the marine environment, understanding how ocean physics determines the distribution of plastic and other marine debris, and the degradation and ultimate fate of different plastic materials in the ocean. I serve as the co-principal investigator of the Marine Debris Working Group at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), and hold a Ph.D. in physical oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a B.S. in mathematics from Duke University.