18 June 2014 (Reference: 04-14)
Cefas scientists, based in Lowestoft, will be joining forces with marine scientists across the world on 21 June, to take part in an ambitious global research project - Ocean Sampling Day.
80% of all life on Earth comes from the World Ocean which covers more than 70%. Less than 5% has been explored. The marine science laboratory at Lowestoft will join more than 150 research organisations from Iceland to Anatartica and from Moorea (French Polynesia) to South Africa to study and health check the world's ocean.
Scientists across the globe will take samples of seawater on mid-summer's day to form the biggest marine research initiative that has ever taken place on a single day.
Cefas scientist Sophie Pitois, who will be sampling the sea in the Eastern English Channel on Ocean Sampling Day, said: "The research findings will help us understand better the sea at the microscopic level, to measure the health status of our coast and what we need to do to protect our global marine environment.
Veronique Creach, the other Cefas scientist involved in this project added " Today, scientists have the expertise, the tools but not the data and I am proud that Cefas can contribute to this world event by sampling the UK coastal waters."
The sample taken from the Cefas Endeavour will, along with all other samples, be sent to the lead research partner at the University of Bremen in Germany. Bacteria will be analysed and recorded, forming the biggest standardised reference data set in the world for generations of experiments to follow.
Samples will also be sent to the world famous Smithsonian's Institution Natural History Museum in Washington DC, USA. The Museum will keep up to 10000 samples, collected every 21st June, in a time-capsule. This precious data bank will allow future generations of marine scientists to understand and benchmark changes in the marine environment.
Ocean Sampling Day leader, Professor Dawn Field from Oxford University added: "This is the first simultaneous sampling of the world's oceans at a significant scale. As such, it is a historical event and hopefully it's just the beginning."
Other organisations based in the UK taking part in Ocean Sampling Day are Aberdeen Marine Laboratory, Bangor University, Wales, Newcastle University and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, ensuring a full picture of bacteria in sea water for UK marine scientists now and in the future.
This worldwide effort is coordinated jointly by Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany and University of Oxford, UK. It is funded by the European Union.
The EU is also funding a citizen science initiative called MyOSD - a mobile phone app allowing citizens to upload their own scientific measurements to support the sampling by marine scientists. Through these two initiatives, scientists will create a common pool of data to be shared among the whole scientific marine research community and the public.
- For more information about Ocean Sampling Day visit www.OceanSamplingDay.org
- For more information about MyOSD visit www.my-osd.org
- The Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) is the UK government's foremost source of evidence, applied science and impartial expert advice for marine and closely related environments. It tackles and makes a real difference on issues of great importance to society such as food safety, secure energy supply and biodiversity - with projects that support and enable economic growth and the protection of the natural environment.
- For more information visit www.cefas.defra.gov.uk
Images are available of the Cefas team taking part in World Sampling Day. Contact Helen.firstname.lastname@example.org