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HPA 4th-graders study effects of marine debris by examining albatross boluses

<p>HPA fourth-graders, from left, Noe’ulakapalai Lindsey, Eddie Farias, Luke Rapier and KJ Walker discuss their findings while studying an albatross bolus as Nakoa Goo of the Mokupapapa Discovery Center looks on. PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN</p>

HPA fourth-graders, from left, Noe’ulakapalai Lindsey, Eddie Farias, Luke Rapier and KJ Walker discuss their findings while studying an albatross bolus as Nakoa Goo of the Mokupapapa Discovery Center looks on. PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN

Cobey Doi’s fourth-grade students at Hawaii Preparatory Academy recently studied boluses from Midway Island’s Laysan albatrosses as part of their unit on the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. Nakoa Goo of the Mokupapapa Discovery Center in Hilo led the class activity.

Five groups of students separated natural and unnatural items from the boluses and found a heavy concentration of plastic, fishing line, rope, and even erasers. Other items included squid beaks, plant parts, rocks, and feathers.

Students weighed plates of separated items and every group found that the plates of unnatural items outweighed the plates of natural items. This hands-on research project helped students understand how much marine debris can be found in the ocean and its impact on the Laysan albatross.