In this current project, which is in its research stage, I am exploring the relationship between plankton and plastic. The ocean has become a storage place for human waste, where tons of our rubbish is dumped each year. The waste breaks down into tiny particles, turning the water into what has been described as a plastic soup. One of the harmful effects of this is that many marine species ingest plastic, mistaking it as their food source: plankton. Plankton are often microscopic, but they are truly fascinating creatures and integral in supporting not only marine life, but human life as well. Plankton are at the bottom of the ocean’s food chain, and therefore supports all the incredible life forms within it. They are also one of the main suppliers of oxygen; through photosynthesis phytoplankton are remarkably a bigger provider than land plants and trees. Aside from this, when plankton is seen up close they offer a beautiful and curious side to our planet that is often unseen. They are diverse, colourful and strikingly beautiful creatures. Exploring the importance and beauty of plankton offers an opportunity to discover and value the truly remarkable and hidden world of the ocean.
In this project so far, I begun by studying some of the hundreds of species of plankton, using watercolours and sketching to replicate certain species. With support from the Glasgow Museum Resource Centre I have viewed plankton specimens collected by Ernst Haeckel and the Challenger voyager. Following this I attended Beach Cleans run by the Marine Conservation Society and the Great Nurdle Hunt. I have collected plastic waste, which I am currently re-sculpting to interpret planktonic life forms. Please scroll through the images; as the project progresses there will be more to come!
BEACH CLEAN, THE FIRTH OF CLYDE
PLANKTON SPECIMENS, THE GLASGOW MUSEUM RESOURCE CENTRE
Above 3 images © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection
MIXED MEDIA ON CARD
PHOTOGRAPHY EXPERIMENTS, FOUND PLASTICS IN WATER
‘SPECIMENS’ IN JARS, As part of the Science Lates events, Glasgow