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CDCP a collaborative data collection project

Global Oceanic Environmental Survey

…. be part of an innovative and unique collaborative and global data collection project that could help us throw the ocean a lifeline and transform how we approach climate mitigation

Meet the team

Equipment required

How to collect a sample

Plankton and plastic identification

Record the results and send to GOES

What is the issue:

The science emerging is telling us (make that, yelling at us) that because we have polluted our beautiful oceans so much over the last 70 years, we have collectively managed to reduce the numbers of tiny planktonic plants and animals by a staggering 50%.  This destruction is continuing at a rate of 1% year on year.  These tiny animals are munching on toxic microplastic (they can’t tell the difference between plant and plastic particles) and we want to undertake this observational study so that we can start to estimate the amount of toxic chemical in the deep ocean.  We can do this with your help, by getting a handle on the numbers of planktonic plants and animals and the number of microplastics which carry toxic forever chemicals.

You see, it is our belief, our hypothesis if you will, that if we can put the break on chemical pollution, invest heavily on both (i) stopping plastic leaving rivers and reaching the ocean, and (ii) replacing toxic with green chemical options to the market, ocean plants in a ‘clean’ regenerative environment will double their mass in 3 days, sequester millions of tonnes of carbon, and climate mitigation could be within our reach. (More on that later).

A Planktonic Plant: 

A cynobacteria called Prochlorococcus was only discovered just over 30 years ago.  It measures only 0.6um( 0.0006mm), but their numbers, if we were to stack them all together, would be the equivalent of taking all plants and crops being grown on the Earth’s farms and multiplying by seven.  There are more Prochlorococcus than grains of sand, and this one species alone, makes over 20% of the oxygen we breath, by making its own food from carbon dioxide and then, it sequesters the carbon.

Diatoms:

If you join us in this study, you probably won’t get to meet Prochlorococcus, it is just too small to see with standard microscopes, but you would get to meet the little plants  that do the lot of the heavy lifting to keep our climate in check. 

They are diatoms, and these little engineers use silica to create awe inspiring shapes and structure, and for some on the GOES team, they are considered the most beautiful phytoplankton.  Diatoms are plants, but they also behave a bit like an animal and as such they fall into a group knows as Protists, and some of them eat particles from the water.  This makes them very sensitive to plastic and chemical pollution.

Diatoms are responsible for around 40% of all carbon removed from the world’s oceans, this therefore makes them incredibly important.  They are also easy to see under the micro-scope.

Zooplankton ...COPEPODS

They are the fastest Animals on Earth – for their size and they poop a lot too!  There are around 5 billion tonnes of Copepods in the oceans – their name means ‘Oar foot’. That’s equivalent to 17 million jumbo jets and if you laid those jets in a straight line, they would go round the Earth over 30 times (oh, there are only 8400 jumbo jets).  These little critters are usually 1mm in length and are the most numerous animals on our Planet and if you put the Copepods in one great big pile, that pile would be ten times heavier than a pile of all land animals combined.  If these numbers are something to behold, then their collective volume of poo and nightly migration might fully explain why they are some of the most important animals on the planet and why we need your help to carry out this data collection.  Copepod is also the name of our research yacht.

 

Imagine if you will, that every year, Copepods poop x30 times more carbon than humans use in the form of fossil fuels, and 6% of their poo (3 Giga tonnes of carbon) is locked away in the abyss.  It gets more exciting, because every night, they use their ‘oar feet’ and swim from a depth of 400m to the surface, where they feed on algae and other planktonic plants.  Together they move more water that the moon and the tides (and this not factored into climate change models as yet.)

 

The Global Ocean Environment Survey – needs you!

Email us now: Howard@goesfoundation.com for more information.

What data needs collected and why does it matter?

You might be aware that there are other plankton sampling initiatives, but this one is unique and innovative.  This is a collaborative project, and the data collection will focus on a helping to visualise a missing part of the jigsaw.  Twice a day, (if possible) we want you to take a 0.5 litre of sea water, put it through a GOES Jesus filter (developed by Dr.Jesus Ramon Barriuso Diez), count plankton, microplastics (fibres and beads) and any other particles which are over 20 microns.  What we know from other scientific reports, is that every particle has the same concentration of a very toxic chemical called Poly Chlorinated Biphenols (PCBs), whether it is in the North Sea or the Antarctica /Southern Ocean.  PCB use has been banned for over 45 years, but these toxic forever chemicals are still being released into the environment, especially in geographies where consumer electronics are being disposed of in less-than-ideal conditions. 

By counting the particles, the microplastics and the plankton, we will use machine learning to undertake the following, but the really exciting thing about science is that other patterns and relationships may start to emerge as the number of samples we all take increases:

  • look for relationships and correlations in the numbers
  • present the data in ways that help us understand what’s going on in the deep ocean
  • add up the amount of toxic PCB that is in the deep oceans of our planet.

 

We hope you will join us to start and put this picture together
  • Our objective is to collect a minimum of 2000 samples over the coming

year, and

  • Use artificial intelligence and machine learning to map, chart, and

interpret what is going on in the deep ocean waters (off the continental

shelves).  

  • Determine the extent of micro-plastic pollution
  • Determine the relationship between micro-plastic and toxicity to marine

animals (zooplankton) and specifically to different size bands of plankton

  • The determine the toxicity of plastic to marine plants
  • Determine marine productivity and pollution indexes

 

With your help, we can collectively bring this very precious data together and you will be part of creating the first unique mapping of plankton, particles and microplastics down to 20microns in the deep blue ocean.  The results and findings could shape how the world responds to climate change and should provide the evidence to help protect the oceans and eliminate pollution.

 

How much will it cost?

We aren’t asking for donations, but we are asking you to invest in your own mini lab on board your vessel, a bit like the one on Yacht Copepod (see below).  Any skipper or crew who loves the ocean can be a part of this unique global scientific data collection.   You might be thinking that there are lots of scientific, oceanographic vessels doing this type of work.  Not so.  It is so expensive for scientific ships to traverse the oceans and observe and sample the plankton, so commercial ships are used to tow plankton collection kit, but the micron sizes of the plankton is quite large (over 60  - 250 micro meters), so the smallest plankton, the ones GOES wants to observe, get missed out and currently remain a bit of a mystery to the marine and climate mitigation policy makers.

How often is the data collected?

If you join us in this scientific endeavour, we’d love you to take a sample morning or night, but if you can only manage one once a week, this too will be invaluable.  We will share and bring the data to life with governments; universities, marine and climate institutes and will keep our journalist friends up to date on progress too so that as many people can learn about what is happening in our oceans.

 

Are there other ways to get involved?  Yes, Yes, Yes!

We would love you to become a GOES Ambassador.  We love what we do and hope you will become a fascinated and passionate about the planktonic world, how it relates to climate change mitigation and what we can do to look after them by using ocean safe products.

 We hope you’ll want to know more and we can help you with that with our workshops and online training sessions. 

Please do just get in touch:  email diane@goesfoundation.com

  • The GOES team love to do: presentations to sailors irrespective of whether they want to take part in this collaborative project.  Sessions with groups of all ages to share and even paint the wonders of the planktonic world, debate climate change and talk about all things related to water and chemical pollution (It isn’t always a very merry or cheery even at the start, but we always end with sharing how we can all take positive action to improve the health of the ocean and the climate).  We also love training superstars of all ages who want to be GOES Ambassadors.

 

yacht COPEPOD  to base for the Goes Foundation, as well as Roslin Innovation Centre, Edinburgh University

yacht COPEPOD to base for the Goes Foundation, as well as Roslin Innovation Centre, Edinburgh University

Life on earth depends upon healthy Oceans, we have 10 years to stop toxic chemical pollution, or life on earth may become impossible

Dr. Howard Dryden, CSO

Goes Foundation

Roslin Innovation Centre
The University of Edinburgh
Easter Bush Campus
Midlothian EH25 9RG

Email. howard@goesfoundation.com