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RSS Discovery makes first visit to London to celebrate 50 years of the NERC

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Tower Bridge and Ship

RSS Discovery makes first visit to London to celebrate 50 years of the NERC

The Royal Research Ship Discovery made a historic first visit to London last week to mark 50 years of Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)-funded environmental and oceanographic research. The state-of-the-art vessel was launched in 2013, and is the third such craft to bear the name of the ship used in Robert Falcon Scott’s early Antarctic expeditions.

She was docked alongside HMS Belfast on the Thames between the 7th and 11th of October, while the public, media, business leaders, and politicians were invited aboard to experience for themselves what it is that makes Discovery such an invaluable and effective platform for world-leading oceanographic research. Scientists from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the British Geological Survey (BGS), the National Centre for Earth Observation, the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, as well as the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) were on-board to educate, entertain and enthuse visitors about the ship and the research that she enables.

Dr Ben Webber, a Postdoctoral Research Assistant from the UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, was a member of the UEA team showcasing the university’s world-class glider facility, which currently comprises six robotic submarines that are used to take all sorts of measurements from far-flung regions of the world’s oceans. Dr Webber said, “There was an incredible array of cutting-edge technology on display on board the ship, and it was clear that everyone from local schoolchildren to government stakeholders was inspired by this insight into modern-day oceanography. It was great to be involved in such a high-profile and highly-successful event.”

Briony Silburn, a Sedimentological and Oceanographic Scientist from Cefas in Lowestoft, was also aboard, where she spent a day demonstrating the capabilities of Cefas’s SmartBuoys using a fully assembled buoy that had only recently been recovered from the Celtic Sea. Ms Silburn added, “Personally, I really enjoyed engaging with the school children who came along for a tour of the ship and to learn about all the different aspects of NERC science. They were so engaging and asked us some really intelligent questions. It was also a great opportunity to reminisce about the recent surveys we were both involved in on board RRS Discovery, as part of the NERC Shelf Sea Biogeochemistry programme.”

Discovery returned to Southampton on the 12th of October in preparation for her next research cruise which will take her to the Bahamas as part of the RAPID Climate Change Project run by the British Oceanographic Data Centre and the NERC.

Posted by Andrew Rushby on Mon, 30 Oct 2017

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