Marine plastic researcher will discuss issue at Surfrider Foundation meeting Thursday

Peter Hodum, a biology professor and researcher at the University of Puget Sound, will talk about marine plastic debris and its impact on Puget Sound at Thursday’s meeting of the Surfrider Foundation.

The South Sound chapter will meet at 6:30 p.m. at King’s Books, 218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma.

Hodum’s work centers how seabirds and other organisms ingest plastic and other pollutants, and how those toxics can move up the food chain, according to a news release from the chapter.

“There is a growing awareness of the magnitude of plastic debris in the world's oceans, although we still know relatively little about the impacts of marine plastic debris on ocean ecosystems,” Hodum said in the release. “Marine plastic debris has been documented to enter ocean food webs and is known to be ingested by marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds and fish but the consequences for individuals and populations are often not well understood.”

During his presentation, Hodum will give an overview of the marine plastic debris issue. He also will explain the work he and students are doing to better understand plastic ingestion by seabirds, forage fish and marine invertebrates in the Northwest.

“Our home here in the Pacific Northwest is one of the most fascinating and beautiful spots in the country,” Brice Boland, Washington chapter coordinator for the foundation, said in the release. “We are extremely interested in the work that Dr. Hodum is doing and we are proud to be a part of raising the level of citizen involvement and understanding, and hopeful that with increased knowledge will come basic changes in the way we treat our oceans.”

Additional information can be found on the chapter’s Facebook page.