Manta Net Diaries by Isabel

manta net first catch

Throughout this cruise, we’ll collect microplastics floating along the surface of the North, South, and Equatorial Pacific using a Manta net. The instrument’s name comes from its manta ray shape. It uses its buoyant wings to float along the ocean surface and concentrates debris that passes through its mouth in a net attached to the back. The net is dragged along the back of the boat for roughly 20 minutes before being lifted back aboard where the sample will be collected for analysis. We’ll be the first team to use the department’s brand-new Manta net! A name has yet to be decided for the instrument, but the options have been narrowed down to Manta Bobbie Brown, after famous Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown, or Jason from Friday the 13th. 

2/25/23: Today was the first deployment of the Manta net! The intended station was in a marine-protected area, so the boat had to make a 45-minute detour. There were lots of blue debris collected that looked like microplastics but were actually copepods. Other collected organisms include crab larvae, shrimp, and a bumble bee. So far, no microplastics have been found :( but also :)

2/26/23: The Manta net set afloat today in the North Pacific. The ocean was rougher than yesterday, so the net was skipping over the waves. No obvious microplastics were found in the sample, but we did collect potential sea urchin larvae, baby fish, snails, and oodles of blue copepods.

Once we return from Fiji, the samples will be examined further for microplastics at UW.

Stay tuned! There are more entries to come.