Venturing into a new age of ocean odyssey

How inappropriate to call this planet Earth, when clearly it is Ocean.

Arthur C. Clarke

Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is water. The oceans that surround us today – and for much of the planet’s 4.6-billion-year history – comprise our planet’s largest ecosystem, showcasing an infinitely rich spectrum of marine life.

Our oceans’ survival is in jeopardy

Oceans do much more than simply provide a home for giant mammals and microorganisms to live side by side. Their natural forces drive weather systems, regulate land temperatures and ensure our survival.

Despite the oceans’ omnipresence, more than 80% remains completely unmapped and unexplored. We need to know more.

Plymouth has a rich tradition of exploration and discovery. We want to develop innovative new ways of understanding our world. Sometimes, this means taking inspiration from the past to inform our future.

<p>Sea storm</p>
Climate change – warmer waters are leading to more frequent powerful storms
<p>Marine plastics and coral reef</p>
Destroyed underwater ecosystems threaten our marine species – marine litter and pollution
<p>Barren coral reef</p>
Increased prevalence of carbon dioxide is causing damaging levels of ocean acidification

Echoing a 400-year-old voyage of discovery

In 1969, IBM’s pioneering technology helped put man on the moon. Today, the company is working with us as we reflect on Plymouth's own history. 

The Mayflower set sail from Plymouth to America in 1620 in search of a new world of opportunity. That historic voyage has become an inspiring symbol of discovery.

The University is working in collaboration with Promare, MSubs and IBM, to innovate an autonomous ship, which will conduct ground-breaking research as it emulates the Mayflower’s oceanic path in September 2020.

Our shared goal is to evolve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of our research within autonomous technology and artificial intelligence.

<p>Mayflower Autonomous Ship - credit&nbsp;Rachel Nicholls-Lee
at Whiskerstay Ltd



</p>
<p>IBM logo</p>
<p>Mayflower Autonomous Ship - credit&nbsp;Rachel Nicholls-Lee at Whiskerstay Ltd</p>

The new Mayflower’s research endeavour...

  • 2 Ocean conditions
  • 2 Marine pollution and conservation
  • 2 Meteorology
  • 2 Climatology
  • 2 Marine biology
  • 2 Marine mammal monitoring
  • 2 Autonomous navigation
  • 2 Sea level mapping
  • 2 Maritime cybersecurity
<p>Professor Richard Thompson</p>
“In 2004, we were the first to describe ‘microplastics’ in the ocean” – Professor Richard Thompson OBE


Nurturing a new generation of ocean explorers

Ocean exploration doesn’t just take place hundreds of miles off the coast – our cutting-edge marine facilities lie at the threshold of land and sea.

In Plymouth, we are fortunate enough to be blessed with local fieldwork locations that present us with a rich petri dish of marine biodiversity.

Globally relevant marine degrees

Top 10 University for Geology, Environmental, Earth and Marine Sciences in the UK

(Times Higher Young University rankings 2019)


Video: Professor Richard Thompson OBE describes the variety of marine biology courses available to study at the University of Plymouth