Darwin200 Icon
facebook icon twitter icon Instagram icon Youtube icon Linkedin icon

The 2020 UK Voyage

In preparation for the upcoming, 2023-2025 DARWIN200 Global Voyage, over the summer of 2020, the DARWIN200 team voyaged around the UK on the tallship Pelican of London, circumnavigating the British Isles over 7 weeks.

The objective of the 2020 UK Voyage was undertake the global voyage in miniature, testing our systems at sea and under real-life conditions.

Young scientists, surveys & live lectures

The 2020 UK Voyage involved a diverse group of young scientists and trainee sailors (many from underprivileged backgrounds, invited to take part as part of an upskilling initiative).

In partnership with the University of Plymouth, Pelican of London was equipped as a floating laboratory to study a range of conservation and wildlife subjects.

The young scientists investigated levels of pollution in sea water around the UK’s coasts, quantities of plastic waste washing up on our shores, sources of sustainable energy (including wind power) around the British Isles, as well as undertaking surveys of whales, dolphins, large ‘macrofauna’ fish (sunfish, basking sharks and bluefin tuna) and seabirds. Findings were beamed live from the ship over the course of the voyage and via online lectures.

In addition to undertaking their research projects, the team of young scientists made many interesting observations, including documenting several shoals of bluefin tuna (a species previously near-eradicated from UK waters, but now returning), and large aggregations of up to 30 sunfish (rare in UK waters).

Much of the data generated from the surveys has been contributed to nationwide conservation surveys to build an understanding of the health of the UK’s marine environments.

During the course of the 2020 UK Voyage, the team undertook live lectures and talks, beamed to schools around the world thanks to a partnership with Exploring By The Seat Of Your Pans.

The DARWIN200 team were honoured to be joined by patrons and supporters Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Sylvia Earle and Dr. Sarah Darwin (direct descendent of naturalist Charles Darwin) for live-streamed talks that were broadcast to schools across the UK and worldwide!

  • 25 episodes, following the adventures of the voyage.
  • 9 science films summarising the findings of the main research projects.
  • 5 lectures and talks beamed live to schools.