A scientific study on plastic in the Mediterranean was conducted aboard Tara coordinated by the Laboratoire de Villefranchesur-mer (Université Pierre et Marie Curie and CNRS) and the University of Michigan (USA). The accumulation of plastic debris in nature is "one of the most ubiquitous and long-lasting recent changes to the surface of our planet…" (Barnes et al, 2009), and one of the major environmental concerns of our time. Yet we know too little about what happens to these plastics and their role in ecosystem dynamics to predict their future impacts on the oceans of our planet and on humans.
As part of this study we performed measurements of surface optical properties (Hyperspectral particulate absorption and attenuation, hyperspcetral remote sensing reflectance) as well as vertical profiles of CTD, chlorophyll fluorescence and backscattering at one wavelengths. HPLC samples were also collected and highlight the oligotrophic nature of much of the waters we sampled.