Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion
Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion

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Annotation: Explains the science of studying ocean motion through tracking plastic trash that has made it into the sea through cargo spills or storm drains.
Catalog Number: #16591
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: STEAM STEAM Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition Date: 2007
Pages: 56 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-547-32860-5 Perma-Bound: 0-605-13830-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-547-32860-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-13830-8
Dewey: 551.46
LCCN: 2006011534
Dimensions: 23 x 29 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
In 1990, five containers packed with Nike sneakers were swept off a cargo ship during a storm at sea. In 1992, 28,800 floating bathtub toys spilled into the Pacific in a similar mishap. The book profiles two oceanographers who devised experiments using computer-modeling programs of ocean surface current movement to predict the landfall of these drifting objects. They also gathered data from the beachcombing community to test their hypotheses. The last third of the book describes the mounting problem of plastic trash in the oceans and shows how this debris is destructive to marine life. Back matter includes a glossary, bibliographic notes, and short annotated lists of books and Web sites. Spacious layout, exceptionally fine color photos, and handsome maps give this book an inviting look, though its higher reading level indicates an older audience than some earlier titles in the Scientists in the Field series. A unique and often fascinating book on ocean currents, drifting trash, and the scientists who study them.
Horn Book
When hundreds of sneakers washed up on the Washington coast, scientist Curt Ebbesmeyer discovered that they came from a cargo spill, and he began studying the Pacific Ocean's currents. Burns's book conveys solid scientific explanations of ocean patterns and discusses the tracking of debris and the effect of ocean trash on the environment. Scientific information builds, creating a natural detective story. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Kirkus Reviews
This entry in the exemplary Scientists in the Field series uses the work of Dr. Curt Ebbesmeyer and others tracking trash circulating through the Pacific Ocean to introduce readers to the science of ocean motion. Opening with an explanation of ocean currents and their role in distributing five containers of Nike sneakers that fell overboard in 1990, the author goes on to introduce Ebbesmeyer and his work. Interspersed are short sections explaining longitude and latitude; waves, tides, currents and gyres; and the plankton that share the surface currents. Maps and varied color photos support the text, printed on a background of appropriately patterned paper. Step by step, the reader of this engaging description of research involving familiar objects like tub toys and LEGO pieces comes to the profoundly depressing realization that the oceans of the world and the stomachs of marine animals are filled with indestructible bits of human trash, just in time for the section entitled, "What You Can Do." Endmatter includes an inviting list of books and websites to explore. (glossary, bibliographic notes, index) (Nonfiction. 11-16)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 5-8-While the subtitle leads one to believe that the heart of this book is about the science of ocean currents, it's actually about why we need to protect our marine environment. Burns tells the tale of Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer who started to track trash (flotsam) that washed up on the shore near his Seattle home. Through floating sneakers and bath toys that accidentally fell off container ships and a computer program named OSCURS, Ebbesmeyer tracked the currents of the ocean. These experiments led to a discussion of how debris is polluting our oceans and causing harm to marine life. Burns introduces the work of several scientists who are working to clean up ghost nets and other dangerous debris. The well-written narration will keep readers engaged, and it's excellent for reports. The science is clearly explained, and the vivid and lively photographs and well-labeled charts and diagrams help to create interest and build understanding. This title will get readers thinking and possibly acting on these problems.-Esther Keller, I.S. 278, Marine Park, NY Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Voice of Youth Advocates
On May 27, 1990, a cargo ship carrying goods from Korea to the United States in the Pacific Ocean dumped twenty-one of its cargo containers into the sea during a storm. Five of those containers were packed with Nike sneakers. Within months, these sneakers began showing up on beaches in and around Seattle, drawing the attention of Curt Ebbesmeyer, a scientist who studies ocean currents. For three years, Ebbesmeyer collected data on the sneakers washing up on shore and realized that they represented the largest oceanographic drift experiment ever undertaken. This book explains the science of studying ocean motion through tracking plastic trash that has made it into the sea through cargo spills or storm drains. The text is packed with full-color photos of the scientists at work as well as some pretty disturbing facts. Between mainland United States and the Hawaiian islands, there is a floating plastic garbage dump as big as the state of Alaska. There are also huge masses of discarded fishing nets-ghost nets-entangling all forms of sea life and drifting into coral reefs, creating massive destruction. The writing is light, but the facts are weighty, and the message of reduce, reuse, and recycle comes across loud and clear. This book is fascinating on its own, but it also can hold its place in a middle-level science curriculum. The complex science behind the movement of the ocean is explained clearly with excellent supporting graphics. Additional books and Web sites are included for further study.-Michele Winship.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (page 54) and index.
Word Count: 8,971
Reading Level: 8.5
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 8.5 / points: 2.0 / quiz: 113694 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:10.9 / points:5.0 / quiz:Q40731
Lexile: 1200L
Guided Reading Level: W
Fountas & Pinnell: W

Aided by an army of beachcombers, oceanographer Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer tracks trash in the name of science. From sneakers to hockey gloves, Curt monitors the watery fate of human-made cargo that has spilled into the ocean. The information he collects is much more than casual news; it is important scientific data. And with careful analysis, Curt, along with a community of scientists, friends, and beachcombers alike, is using his data to understand and protect our ocean. In engaging text and unforgettable images, readers meet the woman who started it all (Curt's mother!), the computer program that makes sense of his data (nicknamed OSCURS), and several scientists, both on land and on the sea, who are using Curt's discoveries to preserve delicate marine habitats and protect the creatures who live in them. A Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book for Nonfiction.

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