SOOP and HX (Hurtigruten Expeditions) try new approaches in ocean observation

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Conducting scientific research not only from specialized research vessels, but also from non-scientific ships and marine infrastructures – this is an important goal of SOOP. The new cooperation with HX is the direct realization of our idea of “Shaping an Ocean Of Possibilities” in order to develop new technologies on the one hand and to use existing structures in ocean observation on the other. Expedition sea voyages to remote regions will now be used to collect marine data for scientific purposes. The first expedition began on Saturday, May 4, 2024 in Hamburg, with Reykjavik as the port of destination.

New Strategies for Broad Data Collection

“We are developing easy-to-use instruments that allow us to leave the familiar and proven environment of scientific research vessels,” says Dr Toste Tanhua, chemical oceanographer at GEOMAR and coordinator of SOOP. “In addition, we need uniform standards for data and analyses in order to collect sufficient information about our ocean in all regions.” Working with HX could help to develop new and sustainable strategies for easier and more comprehensive data collection from non-scientific vessels and marine infrastructure, to complement the indispensable research vessel expeditions.

Hurtigruten Expeditions has been undertaking expeditions to the most remote places on earth since 1896. In 2018, HX established partnerships with some of the world’s leading scientific institutions as part of its “Science and Education” program. The expedition cruise provider supports scientific projects by providing researchers with on-board accommodation. Travelers have the opportunity to collect data for research purposes as part of citizen science programs.

“Our expedition sea voyages on the MS FRIDTJOF NANSEN will now help fill important data gaps,” says Dr Verena Meraldi, scientific director at HX Hurtigruten Expeditions. “This can contribute to a better understanding of the conditions in sparsely travelled regions, and our guests have the extraordinary opportunity to gain a direct insight into ongoing research”.

On the following eight expeditions of the MS FRIDTJOF NANSEN, scientists from the three research institutes GEOMAR, AWI, and Hereon will take turns collecting data on board and sharing their knowledge with guests. Measurements will cover temperature and oxygen content of the water, as well as salinity, microplastics and CO2 content. In addition, experiments will be conducted to investigate the biological diversity in the waters using measurements of phytoplankton and of traces of genetic material in the water (eDNA). In addition, there will be measurements of trace gas and aerosol concentrations above the ocean surface.

📃 Click here for the press release.