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Assessing the Environmental Threat of Ocean Debris

1. Survey Introduction

Having worked on the issue of marine debris for the past three decades
through the International Coastal Cleanup, Ocean Conservancy is now
engaged in a research exercise to quantitatively evaluate the threat of
specific marine debris items to ocean health.

As our research method, we have chosen expert elicitation because it has
been used for decades in the fields of social science and risk
assessment. Expert elicitation synthesizes opinions of experts while
assessing uncertainty around those views. Your professional judgment,
along with your colleagues around the world, will be captured using the
survey instrument and data will be analyzed to determine the relative
threat posed by the most persistent forms of debris on beaches and in
the marine environment. A manuscript will be composed from the findings
of this research and submitted for publication.

The following questions are designed to capture information on your
expert judgment regarding the threat of specific ocean trash items
across marine taxa. Based on your professional experience and judgement,
the focus is on what threats and impacts you conclude are occurring, and
the severity and specificity of those impacts. Please respond for all
taxa for which you have a professional judgement, not just those for
which you have professional research experience. The elicitation
methodology rigorously captures professional judgement, rather than
field data, observation or published literature with this questionnaire.

This exercise does require thinking but it should not take more than 30
minutes to complete the 10 questions. As a token of our appreciation, we
will gladly send you a limited-edition Ocean Conservancy t-shirt for
submitting your survey--details provided on the final page of the survey.

After completing the survey, your responses will be cataloged in a way
to ensure complete anonymity; your identity will not be attached to your
responses in any way. If you would like to be acknowledged for your
participation in the final publication, email Nicholas Mallos at

Assessing the Environmental Threat of Ocean Debris

9. Mai 2014