The ocean is a special habitat. On land, the inhabited zone extends only a few tens of metres above ground and a few metres below ground. The oceans are different and this alone is reason to cherish, understand and protect this habitat in all its diversity.
Dr Charlotte Braungardt, Associate Professor in Environmental Science
Epic voyages of legacy and discovery
For millennia, we have treated water in general and the oceans in particular with utter contempt. Water has been abused for carrying our waste, our oceans are choking in plastic, and erosion and sewage carry nutrients and sediments onto shelf seas, where they choke the most precious shallow sea communities, from sea grass to coral. But the world is waking up and with deep understanding of the environment comes a deep connection. We are part of nature, and what you are part of, you protect – don’t you?
Dr Charlotte Braungardt
The world’s oceans are fabulously diverse, ecologically rich, complex, interactive environments whose function depend on a range of processes. It is only by understanding them fully that we can explore how the oceans work and, importantly, provide solutions to the environmental challenges they are experiencing as a result of human activity. There are theories which suggest this little blue planet may be the only one of its kind – surely we should pass it to future generations in a better state than we first found it.
Dr Richard Sandford
Inspiring young people in ocean science
In 2019, Dr Braungardt and Dr Sandford took part in another sailing experience encouraging young people to think about the impacts of ocean science. A crew of 22 young people, aged between 15 and 20, took part in SEA the Future, a seven-day oceanography voyage organised by the charity Adventure Under Sail, also on board the Pelican of London. As well as gaining experience of sailing in the English Channel they are carrying out a number of experiments examining the state of the oceans and human impacts on them.
Pelican of London is a 45m sail training ship, built in 1948 as an Arctic trawler. Since 2012, she has been operated as a specialist sail training vessel for young people by the charity Adventure Under Sail. During the voyage, she was crewed by up to 10 professional crew along with up to 12 sailing participants. Additionally, up to 14 Darwin200 staff and research programme participants were accommodated to undertake exciting science projects during the UK Voyage.
A rigorous Covid-19 strategy was in place to prevent it being contracted by any participants of the UK voyage. All participants were tested for Covid-19 prior to commencement of the UK Voyage, and temperatures taken on a daily basis for the first 14 days of participation. Strict protocols were also in place throughout the voyage.
What makes a good wind turbine?
Watch young scientists design miniature versions to discover which blade shapes and sizes generate the highest voltage output, with Dr Braungardt testing them for effectiveness.
What is contained in a single drop of water?
Watch young scientists find out by undertaking a series of systematic studies of plankton in UK waters.
Environmental science at Plymouth
We place particular importance on fieldwork to develop your knowledge, skills and confidence in outdoor environments.