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The University of Southampton

Discover the marine environment of Southampton this half term

Published: 11 October 2007

Experience 'hands on' science and discover the marine environment of Southampton Water this half-term with ‘Discover Oceanography’ at the University of Southampton.

The University’s School of Ocean and Earth Science is offering sessions aboard its state-of-the-art Research Vessel Callista, based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

Each session aboard the vessel, which can comfortably accommodate 36 visitors, offers participants the opportunity to experience a comprehensive introduction to marine science. Sessions can be tailored to suit the needs of individual groups and are suitable for all ages.

Graham Ethridge from the School of Ocean and Earth Science comments: "This is a rare chance to board a research vessel and enjoy a hands on and fun leaning experience about the local marine environment. You will be surprised what’s lurking in Southampton Water."

Sessions start at 12 noon and are held on Monday 22, Thursday 25 and Friday 26 October, departing from the National Oceanography Centre in European Way (Dock gate 4). They cost only £15 for children and £20 per adult and include a full range of onboard activities undertaken during the three hours on the water. Only children aged eight and over are permitted and all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Participants survey the physical environment of the estuary, using standard oceanographic instruments and historical techniques. Visitors will get the opportunity explore the marine biology of Southampton Water; using plankton nets and microscopes in the on-board laboratory to identify the dominant forms of floating plant and animal life. Samples and trawls from the seabed also allow participants to investigate the impact of local industry and port activities on larger animals in the estuary, providing an appreciation of the principles of ecology and the influence of humans on the environment.

The visit also includes a tour of the research aquarium at the National Oceanography Centre to see the biodiversity of the marine environment and how species adapt to their surroundings.

For further information and details on how to book, call Gary Fisher on 023 8059 6172 or email:

Notes for editors

  1. Digital images of the RV Callista and children enjoying the hands on experience are available from Media Relations on request.
  2. The National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) opened in 1995 in a purpose-built, £50 million waterfront campus on the city’s Empress Dock. A collaboration between the University of Southampton and the Natural Environment Research Council, the centre houses around 520 staff and 700 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Ocean-going Royal Research Ships are also based at the centre with a new vessel, RRS James Cook, joining the fleet in March 2007.
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