Almost ready to row - and to make a big scientific contribution
With just a month to go, three teams of rowers are preparing for a demanding race around the British coastline, which will gather crucial scientific evidence about the health of its coastal waters.
GB Row 2022 is a race with a difference, and most certainly one with purpose. Each boat is crewed by five to six athletes from very different backgrounds, who will help power it on the 2,000 mile journey around the UK. It’s arguably the toughest rowing race in the world; with strong tides, busy shipping lanes and highly changeable weather conditions to contend with.
The race starts on 12 June at Tower Bridge in London. From the moment they set off, each team will be collecting samples for scientists at the University of Portsmouth to study. Rowers have been trained to gather data on microplastics, temperature, noise pollution, and bio-diversity - all of which will help researchers in Portsmouth build a picture of the many challenges facing British coastal waters.
We’ll be able to create a ‘heat map’ of microplastic pollution around the UK, along with crucial data on noise pollution, marine life and water conditions.
The University is working alongside GB Row Challenge for the next four years, creating an unprecedented database of information showing what is happening in the seas around Britain year on year. It is the first time this has been done in a continuous loop around the UK, gathering specific data for all the different areas of interest.
Dr Fay Coucerio, Reader in Biogeochemistry and Environmental Pollution at the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, is leading the collaboration with GB Row Challenge. Dr Coucerio is a key member of the Revolution Plastics team at the University of Portsmouth, and will pay particular interest to levels of microplastics found in sea water samples.
Now, more than ever, it is urgent we protect our oceans. They are critical carbon and heat sinks and are on the front line in the fight against climate change.
Dr Coucerio said: “We’ve been working hard with GB Row for over a year to make this dynamic research project a reality. With a month to go we can’t wait to start getting the samples and data from the three rowing boats, as they make their way around the British coastline. We’ll be able to create a ‘heat map’ of microplastic pollution around the UK, along with crucial data on noise pollution, marine life and water conditions. Now, more than ever, it is urgent we protect our oceans. They are critical carbon and heat sinks and are on the front line in the fight against climate change.”
A video explaining more about GB Row 2022 and the collaboration with University of Portsmouth, can be seen here: https://youtu.be/O6UPU001P2Q