Stretching data too far

gyre by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE
6:1 or None?:
[Via Deep Sea News]

I like Miriam, she is a lady that gets it. Go there now and read her excellent post on the story behind the 6:1 ratio of plastic to plankton that is often touted in the media and why it is flawed.

“Though I admire Algalita’s work, the 6:1 plastic:plankton ratio is deeply flawed. Worse, it is flawed in a direction that undermines Algalita’s credibility: It may vastly underestimate plankton and overestimate plastic. Here’s why, based off the methodology published in Moore et al’s 2001 paper in Marine Pollution Bulletin.”

Read the comments on this post…

The post on the 6;1 ratio is an excellent demonstration of the proper examination of a research protocol. There are some very obvious defects in the methodology used, some so great that it puts into doubt the entire point. Things like comparing dry weight, where the living organisms are mostly water. In fact, using weight to determine the ratio is somewhat misleading.

There are so many other things that are more important about the Gyre than the ratio. The lack of zooplankton for instance. The lack of species diversity would be another. The use of 6:1 ratio just hurts credibility.