satellite view from PMNM
E komo mai; welcome! Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by a lei of foam in the middle of the North Pacific; it's a beautiful, special place.

Not only are there albatross on Midway, but many other interesting kinds of wildlife, both on the land and in the sea. Please enjoy exploring FOAM, an educational blog actively done while on Midway from May through August 2010. Posts are added from off-Midway, as information becomes available. If you're interested in a particular topic, please use the search box or the alphabetical list of "labels" along the left side of the blog page.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Marine Freshwater

I spotted this Laysan Duck at Monument Seep on Eastern Island last week.  It has a plastic ring going around the back of its neck and through its mouth.  The ring could make it impossible for the duck to eat.  How did the ring get onto the duck? 

The ring was probably a piece of marine debris.  Marine debris is trash put into the ocean, either accidentally or on purpose, by people.  The `ōpala can be carried to Midway either by ocean currents or in the stomach of an albatross.  If the bird is lucky, it'll cough up the marine debris in a bolus.  (More about boluses later!)  Sometimes, if the bird is not so lucky, the albatross dies, and then the marine debris that the bird swallowed while alive is left on the ground after the bird rots.

However the plastic ring got here, once it was on Midway, it probably was blown or washed by rain into one of our freshwater ponds, called seeps (more about seeps later, too!)  Perhaps the ring floated over the duck's head as the bird surfaced from an underwater swim.

You probably have noticed that when you unscrew the cap from a plastic gallon milk jug, a ring is left around the neck of the jug.  That's the kind of ring I think this Laysan Duck has around his neck.

Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is surveying the marine debris problem (that's ANOTHER topic that we'll do a FOAM post on later!) 

But can you please help, too?  Next time you open a container with a cap like that,  please cut the ring open! That way, if the ring does get in the ocean somehow, it won't wind up around a Laysan Duck's neck in far away Midway Atoll.  Mahalo for taking care of us!

No comments: