Projects to learn about and improve our environment

Secchi Disk

This long-term research project was set up to gain a better understanding of the abundance of marine phytoplankton by recording their distribution and abundance across the world’s oceans.

The phytoplankton in the sea account for approximately 50% of all photosynthesis on Earth and, through the food web they support, they underpin the marine food chain. The project offers young people a highly accessible introduction to the fascination and importance of the marine ecosystem. It offers every participant a hands-on opportunity to become a Citizen Scientist, recording phytoplankton levels in a simple, practical and enjoyable way from aboard a cruising yacht. They contribute worthwhile data to the project and, in the process, become better acquainted with both the hidden wonders, and the fragility, of the oceans. These are important steps towards a more enlightened and sustainable relationship with the marine environment for the coming generation.

Whirlwind’s Role

The Whirlwind Charitable Trust provided a donation to help expand the project. The greater the number of contributors to the project, the more reliable will be the data set used by researchers around the world to provide solid evidence on the state of the oceans. And the wider the participation, the greater will be the interest in and commitment to the marine environment among our future generation of leaders. The Secchi Disk study’s first scientific output was published in December 2017 in the journal The Public Library of Science ONE also known as PLOS ONE.