Summer greetings from the Academic Director

Summer has reached Europe. While some parts experience heat waves, it has been cool and wet so far here in Bergen, but now finally the Nordic summer is emerging. We can look back at a semester where the grip of the pandemic has faded.

Eystein Jansen Academic Director is the Academic Director of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub. Photo: ERC.

Eystein Jansen Academic Director is the Academic Director of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub. Photo: ERC.

However, new variants of the virus put people to bed, but this time mostly with milder symptoms and new lockdowns in Europe seem unlikely. This encourages our Hub to plan for more physical activities ahead, although the pandemic has taught us that we can get much done and reach further out by also utilizing online meeting and webinars.

Instead of the expected normalization we now have a devastating ongoing crisis in Europe with global effects, due to Russia´s unprovoked brutal invasion of Ukraine. In addition to the direct suffering and senseless destruction, the conflict influences many aspects of academic life. Most severely for Ukrainian academics who have had their lives turned upside down, whose workplaces are destructed or inaccessible, who have had to flee or to take part in the armed or civilian resistance. They all have my deepest thoughts and concerns!

But the effects go way beyond the direct impact for Ukrainian (and Russian) academics. Research is international by nature, and the changing geopolitical and economic landscape will influence us all in many ways. We can already see that the war and the sanctions have created severe obstacles for cooperation in the Arctic, – a region of high priority for our Hub. In May we organised a successful side-event on the status, opportunities, and environmental impacts of potential deep-sea mineral mining at the Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromsø. Throughout the conference however, both in sessions and off sessions, the effects of the ongoing war on Arctic research were a theme of deep concern.

Ole Øvretveit will work on a report on the effects of the Ukraine War on science diplomacy and scientific cooperation in the Arctic for the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub.

Ole Øvretveit will work on a report on the effects of the Ukraine War on science diplomacy and scientific cooperation in the Arctic for the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub. Photo: Nils Olav Sæverås

Research has for many years been an avenue for science diplomacy and collaboration in the Arctic and has helped lower geopolitical tensions in the region. The current shut-down in western-Russo relations is effective in the Arctic. A potent example of this is the pausing of all Arctic Council activities. The academic community risks losing networks, collaborations, and key environmental data. For this reason, our Hub has initiated a project to investigate the effects of the war on Arctic research and science diplomacy on the short and longer term. We aim to provide a report by the end of this year.

Through November 2021-March 2022 the Hub helped organise the work of an AE Task Force set up by the Board to explore a stronger AE presence in the area of climate, environment and sustainability. A membership poll showed wide interest in contributing, and we envisage new initiatives to emerge after the summer break.

We can welcome close to 50 new AE members from the Nordic and Baltic regions in this year´s nomination round, and hope all will become active members. In Norway we have strengthened our ties to the national academies and hope to be able to do so across the Nordic/Baltic region as well. Any help with establishing meeting places or joint activities in the rest of the region will be heartly welcomed.

With the demise of the pandemic, we plan to launch new initiatives and opportunities for our members the coming semesters, some in collaboration with other AE Hubs and some related to the Science Advice for Policy activities of AE in the second phase of the SAPEA project, now funded as SAPEA+ under the Horizon Europe Programme. We look forward to receiving suggestions and ideas that our members may have on events and themes that our Hub should engage in.

With best wishes for a nice summer!

Eystein Jansen
Academic Director



Advisory Board and Steering Group meetings in June 2022

The AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub held meetings with both the Advisory Board and Steering Group in June 2022.
The Steering Group of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub.

The Steering Group of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub. Photo: Nils Olav Sæverås

For the Steering Group, which is based in Bergen, it was finally possible to have a physical meeting on June 16th, after virtual meetings during the pandemic. For the Advisory Board, with members from the Nordic and Baltic region, there was a virtual meeting on June 17th.

The Academic Director of the hub, Eystein Jansen, gave an overview of the hub activities of the past year, as well as some upcoming projects.

Among the 2021/22 activities summed up in Jansen´s presentation, were our participation in the Rosendal Week, as well our cooperation with NTVA-Bergen and Tekna on local technology seminars. The Hub also offered technical support for the Academia Europaea Building Bridges 2021 Conference, as well as the SAPEA webinar om new energy systems on October 11th. The AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub organized the founding of the AE Task Force on Environment, Climate and Sustainability, including a survey among members and report to the AE Board.

Arctic Frontiers Side-Event

Turning the page to 2022, we co-hosted a Norwegian webinar on biodegradable plastics held by NORCE scientist Gunhild Bødtker on March 23rd. We also co-hosted the Darwin Day lecture by Professor Yadvinder Malhi, as well as organized a side-event on deep-sea mineral mining during the Arctic Frontiers conference. In late May, we were honored to host László Lovász, the academic director of our sister hub in Budapest, for two days during his Norway visit. We also co-hosted his lecture “Graphs and Geometry”.

Many of these activities, including the local technology seminars with NTVA-Bergen and Tekna, will continue in the autumn. A new, major project in the autumn, is a report coordinated by Ole Øvretveit on the effects of the Ukraine War on science diplomacy and scientific cooperation in the Arctic. There will be more news on this major project at our website as the project progresses in the autumn.

AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub Steering Group:

Dag L. Aksnes; MAE, Professor, Univ. of Bergen (Marine biology)

Petter Bjørstad; MAE, Univ. Bergen (Informatics)

Kjersti Fløttum; MAE, Univ. Bergen (Linguistics)

Jessica Jewell; Research scholar/Assoc. prof., IIASA/Univ. of Bergen (Energy and Political science)

Matthias Kaiser; Professor, Univ. of Bergen (Philosophy of science)

Stein Kuhnle; MAE, Professor, Univ. of Bergen (Political science)

Dieter Roerich; MAE, Univ. Bergen (Physics)

Anne Gro Salvanes, MAE, Professor, Univ. of Bergen (Marine biology)

Sigrid Eskeland Schütz; Professor Univ. of Bergen (Law)

Svein Sundby, MAE, Professor, Institute for Marine Research, Bergen (Oceanography)

Marit Warncke, CEO Bergen Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Ole Øvretveit, CEO Initiativ Vest

AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub Advisory Board:

Margareth Hagen; Chair, Rector and Professor, University of Bergen, Norway (Italian Literature)

Erland Källen; MAE, Professor, University of Stockholm, Sweden (Meteorology/Climate)

Kirsten Drotner; MAE, Professor, University of Southern Denmark, (Media)

Carl G. Gahmberg; MAE, Professor Emeritus, University of Helsinki, Finland (Molecular and Integrative Biosciences)

Björn Wittrock; MAE, Professor Emeritus, Uppsala University and Vice President AE

Jüri Allik; MAE; University of Tartu, Estonia (Psychology)

Ole Arve Misund; MAE, Director/Professor Tromsø (Marine and fisheries biology)

Martin Fernø; MYAE, Professor, University of Bergen (Physics)

Meeting of Hub Directors in Bergen during László Lovász’ visit

The AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub was honored to host László Lovász, the academic director of our sister hub in Budapest, for one evening during his Norway visit this spring. Possible cooperation was discussed.  

The academic director of the AE Hub in Budapest, mathematician László Lovász, was awarded the Abel Prize for 2021.

The academic director of the AE Hub in Budapest, mathematician László Lovász, was awarded the Abel Prize for 2021.

The academic director of the AE Hub in Budapest, mathematician László Lovász, was awarded the Abel Prize for 2021. Because of Covid restrictions last year, he visited the Norwegian Acadamy of Science and Letters this year instead. His week in Norway included 2 days in Rosendal in western Norway, as well at 3 days in Bergen, where a meeting with the AE-Bergen Hub took place.

László Lovász was awarded the 2021 Abel Prize jointly with Avi Wigderson.

– Lovász and Wigderson have been leading forces in the development of theoretical computer science and its mathematical foundations over the last few decades. Their work interlaces in many ways, and they have both made fundamental contributions to understanding randomness in computation and in exploring the boundaries of efficient computation, says Hans Munthe-Kaas, chair of the Abel Committee, and continues:

– Thanks to the ground-breaking work of these two, discrete mathematics and the relatively young field of theoretical computer science are now firmly established as central areas of modern mathematics.

Abel Prize winners Dennis Sullivan and László Lovász in Oslo. In the background Lise Øvreås, president of DNVA.

Abel Prize winners Dennis Sullivan and László Lovász in Oslo. In the background Lise Øvreås, president of DNVA. Photo: Natalia Demina / Abelprisen

Several opportunities for cooperation were discussed during the meeting between Hub directors László Lovász and Eystein Jansen. Among these were the thematic mission of the Budapest Hub: Methodology of Science Education, as well as Urban Sustainability. Of these, the theme of Urban Sustainability is a good fit with the focus on sustainability in the strategy of the Bergen Hub.

Recorded Event: Deep Sea Minerals at Arctic Frontiers Conference

Explore the recording of a UiB and Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub organized Side Event at this year’s Arctic Frontiers Conference – “Race to the (seabed) bottom – realities and sustainability dilemmas in the demand for minerals”.

Vast quantities of metal-rich mineral deposits have been found in deep sea areas including deep sea regions of the Arctic and sub-Arctic. While the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has granted exploration licenses in various locations, in particular in the Pacific Ocean, several countries are planning to initiate exploration within their own jurisdiction. Norway being one of them.

The green transition generates a need for critical minerals, expected to be greater than the supply from existing land-based mining industry and recycling. Norway is in a position to become a leader in the exploration for deep-sea minerals. The race has started, and this event will address both challenges, opportunities, and dilemmas.

Does the Green Shift really need deep-sea minerals? Do deep-sea minerals have a potential for creating new industries? Is the technology advanced enough? Do we have the knowledge base needed to safely explore these resources without irreversible damage to surrounding ecosystems? How is Norway preparing for its 1st licensing round for deep-sea minerals, and how will this influence the arctic regions? Is the Norwegian Act on Mineral Activities on the Continental Shelf (Seabed Minerals Act) a sufficient regulatory framework? And finally; can deep-sea mineral extraction be sustainable enough to be justified?

Target audience: Industry professionals, environmental groups, policymakers, the geoscience community, and other stakeholders.

Regrettably, the sound quality is varying on this recording.

List of speakers:

  • Chair: Eystein Jansen (Scientific director of AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub, University of Bergen)
  • Andrew Bloodworth (Policy director, BGS – British Geological Survey Keyworth)
  • Walter Sognnes (CEO of Loke Minerals, Stavanger Norway)
  • Kaja Fjærtoft (Senior Advisor , Sustainable Oceans in WWF-Norway)
  • Pedro A. Ribeiro (Dr., UiB – University of Bergen)
  • Anita Parlow (MSt., Formerly Harvard-MIT Arctic Fisheries, Wilson Center Team Lead Polar Code Initiative, Fulbright Scholar-Iceland, United States)

Recorded lecture: Yadvinder Malhi – The Metabolism of Planet Earth

In this lecture Professor Yadvinder Malhi examines human influence on the natural world through the concept of metabolism: how much energy flows through human societies compared to how much flows through the biosphere. The lecture was held at the University of Bergen on April 25th, to mark the Darwin Day.


In this interesting lecture, prof. Yadvinder Malhi first looks at the biological metabolism of the planet, how it is measured and how it is distributed over the Earth. He then explores how these energy flows have changed through human history and prehistory, and scenarios for how they may change over this century, where human-appropriated energy flows threaten to overwhelm the life-sustaining metabolism of the planet.

The metabolic profile of a modern industrialised country (the UK) is explored detail: how much of our energy is directly consumed or embedded in products and in societal infrastructure?

The lecture was  a joint event organised by the Horizon Lecture Committee at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, the Darwin Day Committee at the Department of Biological Sciences, and Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub. It is also available at Vimeo:


In Memoriam Olav Eldholm (1941 – 2022)

Emeritus Professor Olav Eldholm, passed away April 18 2022 at the age of 80. 

In Memoriam Olav Eldholm (1941 - 2022)

In Memoriam Olav Eldholm (1941 – 2022)

Eldholm was elected member of Academia Europaea since 1990, and a prominent person in the international geoscience community. He was also a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and a number of several national and international academies. Eldholm studied geophysics at the University of Bergen, and spent formative years as research scientist at Columbia University´s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York before returning to Norway for a professorship at the University of Oslo in 1974.

At that time Lamont-Doherty was arguably the global hothouse for marine geoscience, and Eldholm soon became an important member of the global community in the field with key collaborators. Most influential was perhaps his collaboration with Manik Talwani, which also resulted in the prominent monograph Evolution of the Norwegian-Greenland Sea in 1971.

Eldholm was widely known internationally for his significant contributions to marine geophysics and geodynamics, notably to the understanding of continental margins, ocean basins, volcanism and plate tectonics –in particular in the North Atlantic region. In 2021 an ancient volcano on the Vøring Plateau was named Eldhø to honour his contributions to science. His research has also been highly influential for oil and gas exploration and production on the Norwegian Continental Shelf not least with many of his students moving to central positions in the industry.

Eldholm was a key person in international programmes in marine Earth Science, and he was for many years deeply involved as a leading figure in the Ocean Drilling Program, where he was a keen promotor of getting young scientists involved in this major global scientific undertaking. This has shaped many excellent scientific careers.

In 2003 Eldholm moved back to his Alma Mater in Bergen to become head of the newly merged Department of Earth Science at the University of Bergen which he led as a dynamic leader for six years before retiring to become an emeritus professor. He was an active emeritus and continued with producing new scientific publications. His legacy is important and many in the national and international marine geoscience community will miss him as an interested and inspiring colleague.

Eystein Jansen

AE-Bergen Hub Annual Report 2021 is now available

The annual report of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub is now available to download. The report shows a very active year for our Hub despite the many covid restrictions.

Academic Director Eystein Jansen

The annual report of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub, with an introduction by Academic Director Eystein Jansen, is now available to download.

The annual report can be downloaded here.

For the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub 2021 has been an important year as Academia Europaea (AE) and the University of Bergen (UiB) in May 2021 renewed their agreement stating that UiB will host and provide facilities and personnel for the running of our Hub for the next four years. Furthermore, our Strategic Plan 2021-2024 was approved by our Advisory Board. In 2021 UiB’s current rector professor Margareth Hagen replaced previous rector Dag Rune Olsen as chair of our Hub’s Advisory Board.

In addition to our own regional and local initiatives and activities in 2021, we have also handled several tasks for AE in general, providing technical and administrative support for the online Class A2 meeting and a joint A1/A2 Class meeting. We have also facilitated running of the “Academia Europaea Task Force on Environment, climate and sustainability”, a committee under the leadership of Professor Verena Winiwarter with members from all classes, set up to provide suggestions for extending AE’s engagement and visibility in these fields.

Academic Director Eystein Jansen writes in his introduction to the annual report:

«I am grateful for our good collaboration within the Academy, its Hubs, The Graz office, the central London Office, and the Board. I will pay a special tribute to our past president Sierd Cloetingh for his strong support for our work and encouragement in terms of extending our role and wish our new president Marja Makarow welcome, whom we already have a very good relationship with through her former role in our Advisory Board. »



Rebecca Cox is 2022 recipient of the Meltzer Prize

Professor of medical virology and head of the Influenza Centre in Bergen, Rebecca Cox, was recently awarded the Meltzer 2022 Award for excellent science communication. 

Professor Rebecca Cox, head of the Influenza Centre in Bergen, has been an expert consultant for the Independent Expert Report “Improving pandemic preparedness and management”.

Professor Rebecca Cox, head of the Influenza Centre in Bergen, was recently awarded the Meltzer 2022 Award for excellent science communication. Photo: Kim E. Andreassen

Rebecca Cox has been remarkably visible during the pandemic and during the vaccine rollout, with more than 130 interviews in newspapers and TV during 2020. However, as the Meltzer jury points out, she also contributed to 140 scientific publications, 53 of them the last five years, in leading journals such as Lancet Infectious Diseases, Lancet Europe, Nature Immunology and Nature Medicine.

Read more about the award in the magazine Khrono (in norwegian). 

Professor Rebecca Cox was an expert consultant for the Independent Expert Report “Improving pandemic preparedness and management”, commissioned by the EU. She was nominated by the Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub (AE-Bergen) for the role.

Read more about her work on the report here.


The Academia Europaea expresses solidarity with partners in Ukraine

The Academia Europaea strongly supports the European Union member states, Switzerland, The United Kingdom and the EEA countries’ action against Russia’s belligerent attack on Ukraine, which is in violation of international law. We are following the positions of our partner Academies across Europe.

A statement of the Board of Trustees of the Academia Europaea


We are honoured to express our solidarity with all Ukrainian scholars of all disciplines, including our own members and non-members.

The Academia Europaea regards the Russian invasion as an attack on the fundamental values of freedom, democracy and self-determination, which in turn provide the basis for academic freedom and opportunities for academic cooperation.

The Academia Europaea members, are all distinguished international scholars. They have been elected because of their international status in the Sciences, the Humanities and the Social and Societal Sciences, as judged by their European colleagues and peers across our continent. We are proud to include members from the Ukraine and from the Russian Federation on equal terms. Science and scholarship thrive on open dialogue and collaboration. We are therefore especially saddened by this unprovoked action by the Russian government against the Ukraine, which seeks to destroy what we stand for – open dialogue and collaboration of equals. As an organisation, we have always maintained diverse and productive academic collaborations with all our members, from all European countries and we certainly will seek to continue this.

The Academia Europaea is aware of the consequences of this military action and at the same time deeply regrets the impact it will have on freedoms, including academic freedoms. We live in a multidimensional world, and only by means of close international academic cooperation can the crises facing humanity, such as climate change, species extinction or infectious diseases, be overcome. For this reason, our solidarity also goes out to our long-standing Russian members who are themselves now the innocent victims of the Russian regime’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Academia Europaea has noted the statements issued by many other European National Academies and Scientific Organisations and we will continue to respond in concert with them. We are especially pleased to see and wish to thank unreservedly, those organisations with the capabilities, that are putting into place schemes to provide safe havens and funds for Ukrainian researchers. We applaud your efforts.

The statement authorised for publication on 1 March 2022 by the Board of Trustees of the Academia Europaea can be downloaded from the AE website.


Significant findings in preliminary results of “biodegradable plastics breakdown” experiment

Midway through the “biodegradable plastics breakdown” experiment at Bergen Aquarium, Norway, led by NORCE scientist Gunhild Bødtker, important and surprising discoveries are already coming to light.

NORCE scientist Gunhild Bødtker presented the findings of her “biodegradable plastics breakdown”-experiment at the Miami-New York leg of the One Ocean Expedition just before Christmas.

NORCE scientist Gunhild Bødtker presented the findings of her “biodegradable plastics breakdown”-experiment at the Miami-New York leg of the One Ocean Expedition just before Christmas. Photo: Isak Okkenhaug/Statsraad Lehmkuhl

Gunhild Bødtker is a working group member and an author on the SAPEA report Biodegradability of plastics in the open environment. Following the publication of the report, Dr Bødtker set up an experiment at the Bergen Aquarium. In a tank at the aquarium, she is studying how long it takes for some specific kinds of biodegradable plastics to break down fully in a marine environment similar to the sea near Bergen in Norway.

She is also studying which microbes are involved, and whether the location of the samples makes any difference: some samples are in the water column, while others are on a sediment simulating the seafloor. The experiment has been running since summer 2021.

– You’ve been engaged in the biodegradability of plastics even before you took part in the working group of the SAPEA report?

– That’s correct. Many of the smaller islands on the western coast of Norway have an alarming amount of plastics pollution. We’ve had several projects at NORCE documenting this. Some of this work can be seen in the Norwegian documentary series “Plasthavet”, where some heavily polluted smaller islands also are being cleaned up by volunteers.

– I was interested in the biodegradability of conventional plastics before, knowing that biodegradability would be very slow. Looking at plastics produced to be biodegradable became more of a focus when I was working on the SAPEA report.

Different types of biodegradable plastics

In her experiment at the Bergen Aquarium, Gunhild Bødtker is studying the biodegradability of two different types of biodegradable plastics, compared to one positive and one negative control material. In addition, she is comparing how fast the materials biodegrade on the “seafloor” of the tank compared to materials floating freely in the tank. After 125 days, midway through the experiment, she’s already seeing some surprising results.

Ørjan Sælensminde at the Bergen Aquarium, and Gunhild Bødtker.

Ørjan Sælensminde at the Bergen Aquarium, and Gunhild Bødtker. Photo: Nils Olav Sæverås

– We’ve seen a much faster biodegradation of the Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) variant of biodegradable plastics than we expected. We’ve also seen that our positive control material, which was made from cellulose, has completely disappeared. This indicates a healthy presence of microorganisms contributing to the biodegradation of these types of material in Norwegian sea water.

Recent updates and comprehensive information about the experiment can be found on the website Built2biodegrade.  

Findings on water temperature

– From our results so far, we have a clear indication that water temperature isn’t as essential to biodegradation rates in seawater as previously thought. It was commonly held that warmer waters, like the South Asian waters, would speed up biodegradation rates. From our results, it seems that the types of microorganisms present, in combination with other environmental factors, are more important.

Gunhild Bødtker is careful to emphasize that even though the results of the Bergen experiment suggest that temperature may not be the main factor determining environmental degradation rates of biodegradable plastics, more emphasis should be put on the combination of environmental factors within habitats and climate zones, as well as material type and sample history.

The experiment is a pilot study and Gunhild Bødtker hopes to set up a control experiment. Findings from the pilot study are already quite significant, particularly the findings on water temperature.      

Another result of the experiment is that materials biodegraded at a faster rate on  “sea floor” sediment than materials floating freely in the tank. This is in line with previous findings.

Dr Bødtker wants to be very clear that whatever conclusions are drawn from the experiment, littering is not acceptable, even with products made from biodegradable plastics.

– We know that certain products have a higher risk of ending up in the sea, such as fishing equipment. If some of these are made from biodegradable plastics, that might have an effect. But biodegradable plastics shouldn’t be an excuse for littering.

The Bergen experiment test pure polymers, while products made from these polymers will usually have added materials. The added materials will also need to be biodegradable if future biodegradability-certification processes are considered.

The Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl serves as a floating university and training vessel combined. The Miami-New York leg of the ongoing expedition had a special focus on science.

The Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl serves as a floating university and training vessel combined. The Miami-New York leg of the ongoing expedition had a special focus on science. Photo: Isak Okkenhaug/Statsraad Lehmkuhl

Following the publication of the SAPEA report "Biodegradability of plastics in the open environment report", Dr Bødtker set up an experiment at the Bergen Aquarium.

Following the publication of the SAPEA report “Biodegradability of plastics in the open environment report”, Dr Bødtker set up an experiment at the Bergen Aquarium. Photo: Nils Olav Sæverås

She is now in the process of seeking funding for the next phase of the experiment. Bødtker says,

– It will be interesting to see how a different type of “seafloor” in the tank affects the biodegradation rate. Also, for the next experiment, it will be interesting to test actual products rather than just pure polymers.

In the latest update from the experiment, Bødtker and collaborators report that the biodegradation rate of PHB on the “seafloor” sediment of the Bergen Aquarium tank (11-12 degrees Celsius) is similar to what was previously observed onSE Asian marine sediment (29 degrees Celsius).

Experiment presented during One Ocean Expedition

Dr Bødtker has recently taken part in the One Ocean Expedition, where the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl is circumnavigating the globe. From August 2021 to April 2023, Statsraad Lehmkuhl is sailing 55,000 nautical miles and visit 36 ports worldwide. Gunhild Bødtker participated on the Miami-New York leg of the expedition just before Christmas. Statsraad Lehmkuhl serves as a floating university and training vessel combined, with University of Bergen as a major contributor. The leg Dr. Bødtker sailed had a special focus on science.

– We had a lot of interesting feedback when the experiment was presented on the One Ocean Expedition. For instance, many participants in the expedition were surprised to discover that bioplastics and biodegradable plastics are not the same thing, Bødtker says.

– This is an important research field. For me personally, it was quite an awakening that even though we were in the open sea, we could see plastics the water, emphasizing the need for more research and more sustainable solutions.