Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 22 Issue 04

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Volume 22, No. 4
Pages 244 - 250

HANDS-ON OCEANOGRAPHY • Sorting Out Sediment Grain Size and Plastic Pollution

Heather L. Spalding Kanesa M. Duncan Zoe Norcross-Nu’u
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This activity familiarizes students with beach erosion, beach health, and the pervasive nature of plastic pollution. Students use measurements of sediment grain size and the buoyancy and density of materials found in beach sand to describe sediment size fraction, determine sand suitability for beach replenishment, and document the relative quantity of plastics. This activity also teaches field sampling (random sampling using transects and quadrats) and mathematical skills (graphing, percentages, and extrapolation).


Spalding, H.L., K.M. Duncan, and Z. Norcross-Nu’u. 2009. Hands-on oceanography: Sorting out sediment grain size and plastic pollution. Oceanography 22(4):244–250, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2009.117.


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