Scientists from the University of Plymouth are setting sail on a voyage aimed at inspiring young people through marine environmental science.
The voyage around the British Isles, aboard the tall ship Pelican of London, is being coordinated by the UK-based organisation Darwin200 and includes professional crew training young sailors and University staff training young scientists.
It will include an ocean science programme which has been devised for the voyage by Dr Charlotte Braungardt and Dr Richard Sandford, from the University’s School of Geography, Earth and Environment Sciences.
They will be leading scientific observations, experiments and problem-solving sessions related to ocean processes, marine ecology and chemistry, plastic pollution and renewable energy aboard the ship as it makes its way around the UK coastline.
Some of the data gathered will contribute to ongoing science projects, including marine mammal surveys for the Sea Watch Foundation.
This is the second expedition Dr Braungardt and Dr Sandford have undertaken aboard the Pelican of London, the first having been a pilot of SEA the Future, the ocean education programme of the charity Adventure Under Sail, who owns the ship.
Starting in Folkestone, the UK voyage will call in at Southampton, Plymouth, Cardiff, Liverpool, Belfast, Glasgow, Hebrides, St Kilda, Orkney, Shetland, Edinburgh and London, where the journey ends with a sail through Tower Bridge. It will then be moored in London for a week where live lectures will be broadcast from the ship.
It will test the outreach platform and onboard systems for a two-year global voyage, which will harness the legacy of Charles Darwin by retracing his journey onboard HMS Beagle almost 200 years ago.
The prime objective of the global project is to find 200 next-generation global conservation leaders and inspire 200 million people by providing a platform of free, interactive resources for all school children, university students, teachers and the general public.
Currently planned to start in 2021, five global research projects will be conducted and the ‘world’s most exciting classroom’ will visit the 50 ports where Darwin made landfall.