slideshow Fishing for Plastic: Photos from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Velella velella Jellies Credit: © Annie Crawley The Trash Detectives collected hundreds of samples during the expedition, including these tiny Velella velella larvae together with confetti-like bits of plastic. Velella velella are free-floating hydrozoans that live on the surface of the open ocean. Trash Detectives at Work Credit: © Annie Crawley Trash Detective and marine ecologist Chelsea Rochman cruises through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, net in hand, scooping up plastic, fouling communities and more. Hatchetfish Credit: © Annie Crawley This hatchetfish was photographed moments after being pulled from the deep sea in the trawling net. These small, silvery fish have large eyes to collect any sunlight that reaches the deep sea. Even in the deep, they are not immune to human impacts; the researchers found many hatchetfish with plastic in their stomachs. Read more about an expedition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Oozeki Net Credit: © Annie Crawley Trash Detective and microbial ecologist Peter Davison and crew haul in the Oozeki net, used to collect fish and other organisms living between 650 and 2,600 feet, at sunrise. Operations aboard the SEAPLEX cruise happened 24 hours a day around the clock. Plastic Bits from the Gyre Credit: © Annie Crawley Plastic does not biodegrade; it photodegrades, which means that sunlight breaks it down into smaller and smaller pieces. These bits of plastic and plankton were collected during a 3:00 am manta net tow, and are just a sample of the plankton-like plastic pieces collected on every trawl in the gyre. If you were a fish, you could not tell the difference between plankton (your natural food source) and these tiny bits of plastic. Read more about science in the great Pacific garbage patch. Dorado Dissection Credit: © Annie Crawley Chelsea Rochman dissects a dorado caught by the crew to see if it had eaten plastic. Nearly 10 percent of all fish collected on the expedition had plastic in their systems.