Marc W. Ward, President and Co Founder of Sea Turtles Forever (STF), has directed conservation and research projects in Costa Rica and Oregon for the past ten years. Under his direction in Costa Rica illegal poaching of critically endangered marine turtles has been reduced from 99% to 10%. STF collaborates with the National Parks system in Costa Rica and is doing research on marine turtles with Parque National las Baulas.
Working in conservation and research of marine turtles Marc became aware that ingestion of marine plastic debris was a significant threat to the sustainability of marine turtle populations. After concluding that marine turtles were highly prone to consumption of marine plastic fragments, research collaboration was formed with Dr Hidishige Takada of the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology to investigate the chemical make-up and distribution of marine plastics in the marine environment. This research collaboration with Dr Takada led to new knowledge regarding the Organic Micro Pollutants that are absorbed at sea by these plastics and revealed the high toxicity connected to marine micro plastics and the threat to not only our marine turtles but also numerous other marine species.
Marc has organized landfall density surveys and marine debris removal response teams for 13 years in an effort to find solutions for environmental damage created by the increasing levels of macro, micro and microscopic plastics found in marine and coastal environments. Marc has developed a filtration system that removes macro, micro and microscopic marine plastics from the beach.
Marc has been co-author for several published reports including: Global Distribution of Organic Micro Pollutants in Marine Plastic. Hidishige Takada, et al. Laboratory of Organic Chemistry (LOG) Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology; Organic micro pollutants in marine plastics from the open ocean and remote and urban beaches. Hidishige Takada, et al, Laboratory of Organic Chemistry (LOG) Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.Publications that have highlighted Marc’s work include: Marine Pollution Bulletin, Scientific American, The Weather Channel, Oregon Public Broadcasting, The Oregonian, The Daily Astorian, and The Seaside Signal.