Petroleum: Tar Quantities Floating in the Northwestern Atlantic Taken with a New Quantitative Neuston Net

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Science  30 Jul 1971:
Vol. 173, Issue 3995, pp. 430-432
DOI: 10.1126/science.173.3995.430


The neuston net has been modified to obtain quantitative samples of surface zooplankton. Petroleum lumps are commonly taken with these nets, and quantities of tar up to almost 0.1 gram (wet weight) per cubic meter of filtered surface water have been taken in the northwestern Atlantic. This information is used to estimate the quantity of tar lumps present in the North Atlantic and to indicate the probable limits of the degree of existing oil pollution in this region. It is suggested that previous estimates of ocean oil pollution may be too low.