Dr. Marcus Eriksen
Director of Research and Co-founder of 5 Gyres

Raised in Southern Louisiana, Dr. Marcus Eriksen developed a fascination with nature as he collected snakes, turtles, and alligators, taking his first job at the Audubon Zoo. He joined the US Marine Corps, and became a combat veteran of the 1991 Gulf War. This experience led him to study evolutionary psychology, eventually earning a PhD in Science Education after studying how primitive motivations influence aesthetic choices about how we perceive the natural world. Even art and beauty are not free thoughts.

He also studied paleontology, the study of ancient life, amassing a collection of 5 tons of bones from several Late Cretaceous dinosaurs from expeditions to the badlands of Wyoming.

Marcus Eriksen 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. His experience on the river led to a career studying the ecological impacts of plastic marine pollution, which has included expeditions sailing 35,000 miles through all 5 subtropical gyres to discover new garbage patches of plastic pollution in the Southern Hemisphere.

His first book, titled “My River Home” (Beacon Press, 2007) chronicled his Mississippi River experience paralleled with his tour as a Marine in the 1991 Gulf War. The experience of war, sailing across the gyres with diverse crews, and long rafting voyages, have led to a strong conservation ethic worth fighting for.

Curriculum Vitae
About the Speaker
About 5 Gyres