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

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

by Loree Griffin Burns

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547488936
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 12/11/2018
Series: Scientists in the Field Series
Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 64
File size: 164 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range: 10 - 12 Years

About the Author

Loree Griffin Burns, Ph.D., did her doctoral work far from the Pacific Ocean, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. While writing this book, however, she made several trips to the Pacific coast. Ms. Burns lives in Massachusetts with her husband and children.

LOREE GRIFFIN BURNS, Ph.D., did her doctoral at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The author of Beetle Busters, Tracking Trash, and The Hive Detectives, she is an award-winning writer whose books for young people have won many accolades, including ALA Notable designations, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book Award, an IRA Children’s Book Award, a Green Earth Book Award and two Science Books & Films (SB&F) Prizes.

Loree holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and her books draw heavily on both her passion for science and nature and her experiences as a working scientist. She lives with her husband and their three kids in a farmhouse in central New England, where she gardens, keeps chickens, and writes about science and scientists. She likes to think that one day she’ll fill the big old barn on their property with horses.

Learn more about Loree at and follow her on Twitter @loreegburns.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

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." —Kirkus, starred review
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.—School Library Journal, s—tarred review

Scientific information builds from chapter to chapter, creating a natural detective story.—Horn Book

The writing is light, but the facts are weighty, and the message of reduce, reuse, and recycle comes across loud and clear. This book i—s 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.—VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

Spacious layout, exceptionally fine color photos, and handsome maps give this book an inviting look. . . . A unique and often fascinating book on ocean currents, drifting trash, and the scientists who study them.—Booklist, ALA

"Even kids not remotely interested in science might find this work captivating." —Newsday, 9/30/07 Newsday

"There's plenty of good reading . . . "—Columbus Dispatch

"[L]oaded...with information, insight, and intellectual twists." —Natural History Magazine 12/07-1/08

Customer Reviews

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Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
christieb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great to use with middle and high school in introducing ocean currents in Science classes.
sharty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Complex scientific ideas about waves, tides, currents, and gyres, and how trash moves through the oceans on these forms of ocean movement are broken down into easy to understand pieces in this book. This book is filled with useful information that is unfamiliar to many readers. Presenting facts and the stories of the scientists involved in the stories will surely inspire readers to take action on cleaning up the ocean.
mrcmyoung on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tracking Trash begins with the engaging story of a lost shipment of tennis shoes found washing up along the North American west coast and the scientist who takes advantage of this strange event to study the ocean's currents. We learn how curiosity, questioning, teamwork and new technology such as satellite tagging has led to a better understanding of ocean currents, how they impact mankind, and how our careless use and disposal of plastics is affecting marine life. An engaging nonfiction text that can be browsed or read aloud to a class one chapter at a time. Students will come away with a better understanding of how the ocean moves, how human actions impact other forms of life, and how dynamic and unpredictable the field of scientific inquiry can be.
JTNguyen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer takes you into his journey of tracking trash within the Pacific Ocean. This book has some extremely interesting facts and how an article on a newspaper that your mother hands you can open windows of interest that you may have never thought of.
BugsyBoog on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a perfect example of what I love about juvenile nonfiction: it takes an interesting topic, takes the unnecessary complexity out of it, and presents it with great visuals. This book takes the scientific studies of Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer and shows its importance in the world today. Curt¿s studies analyzed the currents in the ocean, using opportunistic evidence: the spilling of sneakers and rubber toys by cargo ships. He tracked trash in the ocean and was able to analyze surface currents in the Pacific Ocean. In 1990, a cargo ship coming from Korea spilled 21 containers of sneakers. By collecting data from beachcombers who found the sneakers, Curt was able to learn a lot about ocean currents and create a computer program called OSCURS to predict drift. A similar thing happened with rubber bathroom toys.To help understanding and interest, the book is full of charts, maps, and photos. The middle of the book goes into the floating garbage dump in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that is about the size of Alaska! Did you know that?! Using special trawls scientists are able to collect samples of the garbage patch. Unfortunately, plastic soaks up pollutants, and it is not good when sea creatures or birds eat it. There are also huge bunches of garbage like this that get tangled together in discarded fishing nets. They call them ¿ghost nets,¿ and they entrap anything in their path and wreak havoc on the coral reefs. I can¿t say enough about books like these¿it should be required reading for all kids.
jdieder104 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very informative book about ocean trash and the currents it follows. This book would be a great book to talk about the ocean, recycling, beach clean-ups and ocean currents. I think this book would interest boys and girls alike. Good book to read for a science project.
AMP2 More than 1 year ago
Fascinating look at pollution in our oceans. This would really be a good non-fiction read for a budding environmentalist.