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Old 31-08-2013, 07:35   #1
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Thumbs up Check plankton while you cruise!

Hi Folks,

I got a message from my website and thought I would pass it on as we have lots of environment/warming threads where people pontificate... but this is something positive you can do on your cruise.
I havent got full details as my iPad aint on the net in this bay... and I cant view videos on this computer wifi

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Message: I am a plankton scientist at Plymouth University, UK, and I am writing to introduce the new Secchi Disk project to you - I am the project's leader.

www.secchidisk.org and www.facebook.com/secchidisk.

The project's aim is to ask sailors to help create the biggest global study of the marine plankton, starting now and carrying on forever. I am writing to ask if you would like to participate, perhaps also mention the project on your blog, and tell other voyagers you meet in order to help us raise awareness.

Please get in touch at contact@secchidisk.org if you would like to know more.



Mark
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Old 31-08-2013, 08:25   #2
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Re: Check plankton while you cruise!

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Hi Folks,

I got a message from my website and thought I would pass it on as we have lots of environment/warming threads where people pontificate... but this is something positive you can do on your cruise.
I havent got full details as my iPad aint on the net in this bay... and I cant view videos on this computer wifi






Mark
Seems like a fun project. It's always nice to be involved with something (that could) make a big difference. I found another good link at:

Using a Secchi Disk or Transparency Tube | Monitoring & Assessment | US EPA
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Old 31-08-2013, 09:20   #3
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Cool. Ive thought about doing similar along the way just for fun. Will check this out.

In theory I suppose you could collect enough to be a supplemental food source..works for whales..why not humans...maybe add a plankton seine to life raft gear?
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Old 08-09-2013, 02:43   #4
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Re: Check plankton while you cruise!

Hi, My name is Richard Kirby and I'm the project lead on the Secchi App and Secchi Disk Project. I originally posted on the forum as Odontella when we launched the project in February. I came back today and was delighted to see the project being mentioned on a thread.

I am happy to answer any questions. There is a detailed article about the project on Noonsite and there are others in the scientific, popular and sailing press.

Sailors turned Scientists: Be a part of the world's biggest plankton survey — Noonsite

The project's aim is to ask sailors to help create the biggest global study of the marine plankton, starting now and carrying on forever.

To give some brief background about the project, two years ago a group of Canadian marine scientists reported that the phytoplankton in the oceans had declined globally by 40% since the 1950s due to climate change. Their study provoked controversy among marine scientists however, as some thought they saw contrary results. Part of the controversy stems from a lack of data about the marine phytoplankton due to the fact that the oceans are vast and there aren't that many scientists to cover them. Because of the important role played by the phytoplankton in underpinning the whole marine food chain, we need to know if, how and why they are changing, and this is where we believe citizen science can help.

Although we have had good press coverage, we are keen for the project to become common knowledge among seafarers. Even if individuals decide this project is 'not for them', we need its existence to be known. Press articles get read and get fogrotten. Word of mouth is key for us, so please help spread the word of the project, perhaps mention the project on your blog, and tell other voyagers you meet in order to help us raise awareness.

The project website is Secchi Disk

You can see the data as it rolls in at Home If you click on a flag you will see the Secchi Depth.

You can download a project poster at the following link which you can pass to marinas if you wish.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v05hj9hoh...Project-Poster

In the meantime, thanks for talking about the project. The project is on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/secchidisk where all developments are posted.

We are very happy with the progress so far. Thank you to all who are taking part.

Best Wishes,

Richard
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Old 08-09-2013, 03:41   #5
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Re: Check plankton while you cruise!

Not such a daft idea, Wartime population faced 'eating plankton to avert food shortages' - Telegraph but it proved impractical the way they planned. However, Okami eaten today is plankton.
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:50   #6
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Re: Check plankton while you cruise!

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Cool. Ive thought about doing similar along the way just for fun. Will check this out.

In theory I suppose you could collect enough to be a supplemental food source..works for whales..why not humans...maybe add a plankton seine to life raft gear?
I have read about this somewhere long ago and can't remember the source, supposedly nylon stockings make a good net for plankton and take up very little space in your B.O.B.
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:58   #7
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pirate Re: Check plankton while you cruise!

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Cool. Ive thought about doing similar along the way just for fun. Will check this out.

In theory I suppose you could collect enough to be a supplemental food source..works for whales..why not humans...maybe add a plankton seine to life raft gear?
And explore commercial harvesting possibilities... notice Krill Oil is the big thing since we fished out the Cod and have no more livers...
Anything to make a $
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Old 08-09-2013, 05:05   #8
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Re: Check plankton while you cruise!

To put a face to the Secchi Disk Citizen Science project and show a Secchi Disk, the following Guardian article provides some additional background information:

Seafarers, science needs you! Help us collect data on the oceans | Science | theguardian.com

Best Wishes
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:23   #9
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Re: Check plankton while you cruise!

Hi Richard,

I take it the boat must be completly stationary when it does a reading?
How many readings per day on passage?

Sometimes its quite difficult to stop a boat especially when its on a downwind passage where the small crew has sails lashed out/down.


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Old 08-09-2013, 09:35   #10
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Re: Check plankton while you cruise!

Sounds like an awesome project, 30cm in diameter isn't too hard to make. I'll see if I can find a piece of plywood, epoxy it, and paint it white. I already have a leadline so I can toss it on there.

We're not getting underway for a few weeks so I'll see if I have time to make one of these suckers up before we split.
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Old 08-09-2013, 14:00   #11
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Re: Check plankton while you cruise!

Hi Mark

Yes you need to be stationary. The weight on the disk needs to be sufficient to make the disk sink vertically, and so the weight will vary depending upon the matarial you make the disk from and the strength of the current. We suggest 200g as a minimum, but it may need to be more. The weight can be anything to hand and it can be added to as circumstances dictate.

Our intention is for sailors to measure the Secchi Depth whenever and wherever they can do so conveniently - We don't want the project to be a burden. We want it to be interesting and enjoyable. Over the years a database will develop with readings taken by many different sailors in many different places, and in time we will get regional overlap from year to year.

That said, there are likely to be two categories of measurement:

i) random in location and time - likely to be taken by cruisers (oceanic + coastal) or day sailors (coastal) and,

ii) at the same place at regular intervals - more likely to be taken by day sailors in coastal waters - you may set up a 'monitoring station'. For example, a Secchi Depth taken at the same place every week throughout the year can be a quite interesting way to observe and understand your local environment. Do this over the years and you will detect changes and be able to predict when you may see certain marine life appear that feeds upon plankton.

The database will be accessible to all who contribute. At the moment, if you click on a location marker on the map you can see the Secchi Depth recorded. We will be adding more functionality for users, such as graphing, as the project develops.

In time we may also make calls for paticular areas of ocean to be studied. For example, there is a Northern Hemisphere bias at the moment suggesting that we need to find better ways make southern sailors aware of the project.

In that respect, I welcome suggestions of ways to communicate this project to sailors.

Very happy to keep answering questions.
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Old 03-01-2017, 12:04   #12
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Re: Check plankton while you cruise!

Hi, I thought I would come back and give an update on the Secchi Disk study Secchi Disk Study. This year, the study enters its 5th year and it is now the World's largest citizen science plankton study involving seafarers in hands-on data collection. You cans ee the extent of the data on the interactive map Secchi Disk project – Playing With Data

So thank you to everyone taking part and making it what it has become. A charity was also established this year to run raise funds to support the study. the charity is The Secchi Disk Foundation The Secchi Disk Foundation Home Page

We have just created a long overdue, short, video introduction to the study. I hope you like it, you can view it here:

https://vimeo.com/194387410

I'd also like to introduce the study's Seafaring Ambassador Susie Goodall who was appointed in 2016 and you can now read about her and the Secchi Disk study here: Susie Goodall appointed first Secchi Disk ambassador seafarer

A full roundup of the study in 2016 can be read at the study Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SecchiDisk

Best wishes for 2017 and thank you to anyone taking part.
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Old 18-07-2017, 18:43   #13
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Re: Check plankton while you cruise!

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Hi Mark

Yes you need to be stationary. The weight on the disk needs to be sufficient to make the disk sink vertically, and so the weight will vary depending upon the matarial you make the disk from and the strength of the current.
Richard,

The requirement to stop the boat is quite an obstacle, practically a deal killer for the average passage maker.

But, fishermen have tricks for getting lures down while underway. We could do the same. There are two classes of tricks - downriggers and planers.

We could mount the disk on a lead ball, and run the weight down using a downrigger that also measures the length of line let out automatically. Using stainless or monel wire and a 7kg lead cannonball will get it down deep quickly, almost vertically under the boat. Many fishing cruisers have downriggers.

"Planing" fishing lures pulled through water dive to a depth that depends on the speed and geometry of the plane.

We would need to do some simple geometry to work out the actual depth because the line would not be vertical of course.

As long as the plane of the disk remained nearly horizontal (probably not hard to arrange as edge on it would tend to fly horizontally anyway) then would you accept that kind of reading? Of course, would be nice to do a comparison of stationary vs moving to validate.

I think the biggest challenge to data consistency and accuracy doing this will be waves and turbulence at the surface while underway.

Sounds fun!
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Old 19-07-2017, 03:34   #14
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Re: Check plankton while you cruise!

Thank you for showing an interest. Very much appreciated as is the feedback.

While I understand the methods you suggest, the yacht/boat/ship really does need to be slow moving (drifting) or 'stationary' (although it does not need to be anchored of course) for a scientifically consistent method, otherwise we fear that the data will be very variable as different citizen scientists/ seafarers apply different methods (vanes etc) and corrections with varying degrees of accuracy.

The standard method for Secchi Disk measurements is from a stationary or slowly drifting vessel with a vertical drop for the disk. Obviously, the combination of wind and currents can mean the vessel drifts differently to the currents and so the amount of weight to achieve a vertical descent of the Secchi Disk will vary depending upon the current and/or rate of drift

When under passage it would be sufficient to take measurements on light wind days.

Does that help ?

Best Wishes

Richard
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Old 19-07-2017, 05:30   #15
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Re: Check plankton while you cruise!

There are many more light air and no air days than good wind days. It won't be a problem for a lot of us to take several readings while we wait for the wind to take us somewhere new.
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