Marcus Eriksen, PhD


Marcus Eriksen is currently the Executive Director of the 5 Gyres Institute.   He received his Ph.D. in Science Education from University of Southern California in 2003, months before embarking on a 2000-mile, 5-month journey down the Mississippi River on a homemade raft of plastic bottles.

His experience on the river led to a career studying the ecological impacts of plastic marine pollution, which has included 8 expeditions sailing 25,000 miles through all 5 subtropical gyres to discover new garbage patches of plastic pollution in the Southern Hemisphere and beyond.  

With an affinity for rafting, his most recent adventure sent him and a colleague across the Pacific
Ocean from California to Hawaii on JUNK, a homemade raft floating on 15,000 plastic bottles and a Cessina airplane fuselage as a cabin (   The journey, 2,600 miles in 88 days, brought tremendous attention to the plastic pollution issue.   He and his wife, Anna Cummins, founded the 5 Gyres Institute, which is committed to marine conservation through continued research, education and adventure, studying and lecturing about the plague of plastic waste in our watersheds and in the sea. His work with Algalita, since 2004, continues today with collaborative expeditions and published work.