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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Ten years at sea. R.V. Callista inspires the next generation of marine scientists

Published: 28 September 2015
RV Callista

The University of Southampton’s research vessel RV Callista* is marking ten years at sea. The purpose-built catamaran, based at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton, has given more than 10,500 undergraduates their first practical lessons in oceanography and marine biology. The vessel also provides a maritime platform for postgraduate students and researchers to use to conduct surveys, carry out research dives, take samples and undertake geophysical experiments.

Outreach activities are popular. More than 25,000 schoolchildren and curious members of the public have discovered ocean sciences for themselves on board Callista in Southampton Water, along the coast of Southern England and at events such as the Southampton Boat Show.

Deputy Technical Superintendent Gary Fisher and Senior Research Assistant Moira MacLean enjoy introducing visitors to local marine life through the three hour Discover Oceanography sessions. “School parties and other groups carry out fascinating experiments including profiling salinity, trawling for plankton and investigating the creatures that live in coastal waters and on the sea bed,” says Gary. “It fires their enthusiasm and I’m sure many have been inspired to become marine scientists.”

Funding for the £1 million project came from the proceeds of a successful University spin out company formed after 30 years of research by Professor Martin Sinha, Dr Lucy MacGregor and Jenny Rust. Their company OHM was set up in 2002 to provide remote electromagnetic sensing services to detect the presence of offshore oil and gas.

* Callista meaning “most beautiful” is named after a shellfish that is represented both in the Eocene fossils of the Hampshire Basin and in its modern bays and estuaries.

Discover Oceanography aboard RV Callista
Discover Oceanography aboard RV Callista
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