These ducks have been tracked for longer than some of our geography students have been alive. There’s got to be in that story somewhere a great set of lesson plans on ocean currents, oceanography, geography and science.
Pamela Bumsted gave us the goods on this story long ago:
“Wired Science” on PBS has video, and links to other materials (see the slide show), covering all sorts of flotsam tracking projects (Nike’s shoes seem to be better floaters than the ducks — doesn’t that threaten some old adages about ducks and water?). And this video introduces the serious issues of lost and discarded plastics drifting in the oceans. Floating plastic is a major polluter, not just an eyesore, but also a major hazard to marine wildlife, including especially turtles and birds. (There are projects in that topic, I’m sure.)
The deniers of global warming will be unhappy to see the accuracy with which the ocean currents were predicted, 15 years ago.
29,000 ducks went overboard; only about 1,000 have been found since. Lots of research to be done on beaches out there — fortunately, summer’s coming (hint, hint).
Other resources, courtesy of Wired Science’s site:
- Beachcomber’s Alert
- The OSCURS Server, to track ocean currents
- NASA Science, on oceans
- NOAA Marine Debris Recovery program
- “Flotsam Science” in Science News
- LEGOs in the Atlantic, from Miami Herald
- CNN.com Science, on Ebbesmeyer’s project
- Ocean currents, at the University of Southern California