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Darwin200 research

In continuation of Charles Darwin’s work aboard HMS Beagle, the Darwin200 ship will offer a unique platform to support the following research into many of the world’s most critical environmental problems.

The following five research projects will be undertaken during the Darwin200 global voyage. Each research project is designed to be interactive and engage schools and the general public in a wide range of citizen science activities.
Regular videos, interviews and photos showcasing findings, analysis and conclusions will be beamed from the Darwin200 ship via our social media platforms to invite engagement from students and members of the public of all ages.

Habitat Loss Study

At key points along the voyage itinerary, comparative studies will be undertaken exploring the impacts of habitat loss by contrasting biodiversity in pristine, partly impacted and completely degraded habitat. Bird counts, transects to enumerate insect and plant species and surveys for mammal and reptile tracks will be undertaken to analyse the rate of biodiversity loss resulting from degradation.

Where we discover new species, we will engage with our school-going infant followers so they can be involved in the process of naming those new species to make it really interactive for them and be part of history. Films, photos, reports and interviews will be released online for each study site. Recovery of habitat areas will be analysed, along with new species surveys in which members of the public can name any new taxa discovered.

Sponsor this study

At key points along the voyage itinerary, comparative studies will be undertaken exploring the impacts of habitat loss by contrasting biodiversity in pristine, partly impacted and completely degraded habitat. Bird counts, transects to enumerate insect and plant species and surveys for mammal and reptile tracks will be undertaken to analyse the rate of biodiversity loss resulting from degradation.

Where we discover new species, we will engage with our school-going infant followers so they can be involved in the process of naming those new species to make it really interactive for them and be part of history. Films, photos, reports and interviews will be released online for each study site. Recovery of habitat areas will be analysed, along with new species surveys in which members of the public can name any new taxa discovered.

Global coral survey

When in tropical waters, a survey of coral reefs will take place, including coral coverage estimates, species counts and photo-transects. The data gained for the survey will be contrasted with historical records, and where significant change can be identified, the causal factors will be investigated (e.g. bleaching, eutrophication, sedimentation, introduction of non-native species and diseases etc.).

Solutions to saving coral will be explored as we look at the impacts of the reefs and the masses of change that’s occurred across coral reefs over the last few decades.

Sponsor this study

When in tropical waters, a survey of coral reefs will take place, including coral coverage estimates, species counts and photo-transects. The data gained for the survey will be contrasted with historical records, and where significant change can be identified, the causal factors will be investigated (e.g. bleaching, eutrophication, sedimentation, introduction of non-native species and diseases etc.).

Solutions to saving coral will be explored as we look at the impacts of the reefs and the masses of change that’s occurred across coral reefs over the last few decades.

Ocean Plastic Survey

As we all know, this is really important. Darwin trawled for plankton off HMS Beagle but the Darwin200 team will systematically trawl for plastic particles in ocean waters worldwide. Trawling will be carried out at different depths at 6 hour intervals along the route of the voyage. Each water sample will be filtered and concentrations of micro-plastics then studied, classified and recorded.

We will have online data feeds so that everyone can see the heavy/light concentration of pollution in the world’s oceans so let’s find the real truth about the state of plastic in our seas. On completion, a report will be released including a detailed ocean plastic concentration map of the world, showing (in colour densities) data collected along the voyage route.

Sponsor this study

As we all know, this is really important. Darwin trawled for plankton off HMS Beagle but the Darwin200 team will systematically trawl for plastic particles in ocean waters worldwide. Trawling will be carried out at different depths at 6 hour intervals along the route of the voyage. Each water sample will be filtered and concentrations of micro-plastics then studied, classified and recorded.

We will have online data feeds so that everyone can see the heavy/light concentration of pollution in the world’s oceans so let’s find the real truth about the state of plastic in our seas. On completion, a report will be released including a detailed ocean plastic concentration map of the world, showing (in colour densities) data collected along the voyage route.

Pollution solution PhD research

Up to three PhD students will be accommodated for periods of up to 3 months along different legs of the Darwin200 voyage. The PhD projects will specifically explore solutions to pollution-related problems, either in practical application of existing technology, or the development or testing of new ideas, concepts or prototypes.

Example projects will include testing Ocean Clean-up Arrays (which collect floating plastic waste, using solar power to filter and process it for storage for collection) and Pollution-Eating “Row-Bots” (which use microbial fuel cells to consume floating oil waste).

Sponsor this study

Up to three PhD students will be accommodated for periods of up to 3 months along different legs of the Darwin200 voyage. The PhD projects will specifically explore solutions to pollution-related problems, either in practical application of existing technology, or the development or testing of new ideas, concepts or prototypes.

Example projects will include testing Ocean Clean-up Arrays (which collect floating plastic waste, using solar power to filter and process it for storage for collection) and Pollution-Eating “Row-Bots” (which use microbial fuel cells to consume floating oil waste).

Whales, dolphins and porpoises

A systematic study of cetaceans across the South Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, in sectors that have been little surveyed before.

Research will include testing new techniques to provide data on rarer, deep-diving species, such as little-known beaked whales.

Sponsor this study

A systematic study of cetaceans across the South Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, in sectors that have been little surveyed before.

Research will include testing new techniques to provide data on rarer, deep-diving species, such as little-known beaked whales.