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Plastic Plankton Exhibit
By Joanna Lentini, March 20, 2017 @ 01:00 PM (EST)
Source: Live Science

Northern krill

Plankton spends its entire life at the mercy of currents, drifting precariously through the the water column. We know plankton is an important food source for some of the largest creatures in the sea, but what happens to the entire food chain when the smallest organisms feed on microplastics? Scientific research suggests plankton mistakenly consumes small particles of plastic suspended in the water column. 

Artist Mandy Barker hopes to highlight the potential impacts plastic-eating plankton could have on our oceans through her new exhibit “Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals.” Barker's “plankton” images, which will debut in the UK this spring, have been constructed from debris collected along the shores of Ireland. The images are meant to represent the newest resident of our seas: plastic.

Inspiration for the series of images was derived from the early 19th century work of marine biologist, John Vaughan Thompson, a pioneer in plankton research. Barker was also inspired by the enormous garbage patch we are faced with in the Pacific Ocean. By recreating slides of plankton from the 1800s with plastic, Barker's images send a clear, and powerful message.

Barker's work will be on exhibit at the following venues: FORMAT Photography Festival between March 24th and April 23rd,  The Victoria & Albert Museum, in London, from May 5th- 28th, and at the Sirius Arts Center, in Cobh, Ireland May 27th to July 2nd.

Read more here.



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