Dr. Kara Lavender Law

Research Professor of Oceanography

PhD – Scripps Institution of Oceanography/UCSD, Physical Oceanography, 2001
BS – Duke University, Mathematics, 1994

Research Areas & Interests:

Dr. Law’s research interests include large-scale and mesoscale ocean circulation; intermediate and deep water formation in the North Atlantic and its role in the meridional overturning circulation;  the distribution of plastic marine debris driven by ocean physics; and the degradation and ultimate fate of plastics in the ocean.

Professional Activities:

  • Co-Principal Investigator, Marine Debris Working Group, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), University of California, Santa Barbara, 2011-2015.
  • Member, Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) Working Group 40:  Sources, fate and effects of micro-plastics in the environment – a global assessment, 2012-2015.
  • Participant, National Academy of Sciences Discussion Forum:  Micro-plastics in the marine environment & potential human health risks, Apr. 2014.
  • Member, Ocean Health Index Scientific Research Team, 2010-2012.
  • Board of Directors, Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association, 2014-present.

Selected Publications:

Law, K. L., J. Donohue, R. Z. Miller, 2023. Plastic Marine Pollution in the Gulf of Maine. Maine Policy Review, accepted.

DiBenedetto, M. H., J. Donohue, K. Tremblay, E. Edson, K. L. Law, 2023. Microplastics segregation by rise velocity at the ocean surface. Environ. Res. Lett. 18 024036. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/acb505.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.

Law, K. L., R. Narayan, 2021. Reducing environmental plastic pollution by designing polymer materials for managed end-of-life. Nat. Rev. Mater. doi: 10.1038/s41578-021-00382-0.

Stubbins, A., K. L. Law, S. E. Muñoz, T. S. Bianchi, L. Zhu, 2021. Plastics in the Earth system. Science 373: 51-55. doi: 10.1126/science.abb0354.

Law, K. L., N. Starr, T. R. Siegler, J. R. Jambeck, N. J. Mallos, G. H. Leonard, 2020. The United States’ contribution of plastic waste to land and ocean. Sci. Adv. 6: eabd0288. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abd0288.

Geyer, R., J. R. Jambeck and K. L. Law, 2017. Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made. Sci. Adv. 3, e1700782.

Jambeck, J. R., R. Geyer, C. Wilcox, T. R. Siegler, M. Perryman, A. Andrady, R. Narayan and K. L. Law, 2015.  Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean.  Science, 347, 768-771, doi:10.1126/science.1260352.

Law, K. L., S. E. Morét-Ferguson, D. S. Goodwin, E. R. Zettler, E. DeForce, T. Kukulka and G. Proskurowski, 2014.  Distribution of surface plastic debris in the eastern Pacific Ocean from an 11-year dataset.  Environ. Sci. Technol., 48, 4732-4738.

Law, K. L.S. Morét-Ferguson, N. A. Maximenko, G. Proskurowski, E. E. Peacock, J. Hafner and C. M. Reddy, 2010.  Plastic accumulation in the North Atlantic subtropical gyre.  Science, 329, 1185-1188, doi:10.1126/science.1192321.

Dr. Kara Lavender Law
Dr. Kara Lavender Law CV

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