The Scientific Research Team
Dr Fay Courceiro
Dr Fay Couceiro is a Reader in Biogeochemistry in the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying at the University of Portsmouth. Fay is an expert in pollution. Her research looks to define the sources of pollutants in the environment, such as microplastics, and develop solutions to minimise their impact.
Fay said: “This is a really exciting project that will produce the first UK wide heat maps of the different types of pollution that are impacting the ocean. For me, the most exciting aspect will be exploring how these issues may be interacting with one another. By overlaying maps of data that were taken at the same time, we’ll be able to see coincidences or whether the issues are combining to cause bigger effects than you would have imagined if you were solely looking at microplastics, or just examining noise. The combination of data is a really powerful tool here.”
Prof Alex Ford
Alex Ford is a Professor of Biology at the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of Portsmouth.
Alex said: “This brings adventure sport together with science. It uses vessels of opportunity — it would cost hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, to run as an independent science experiment this size and scale. GB Row provides an amazing opportunity which will provide the blueprint for future ocean/coastal exploration opportunities with citizen scientists and explorers.”
Dr Andrew Lundgren
Dr Andrew Lundgren is a Reader in Gravitational Wave Science in the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth.
Andrew said: “I enjoy sports where you just go out and quietly enjoy nature and I really worry about losing that as the environment degrades. So this project is the perfect application of the scientific skills that I’ve developed on something really important, something that matters to people and society. It’s a real collision of my interests.”
Prof Steve Fletcher
Professor Steve Fletcher is Director of Revolution Plastics and Professor of Ocean Policy and Economy at the University of Portsmouth.
Steve said: “Ocean pollution is one of the most devastating challenges of our generation. Currently, 12 million tonnes of plastic reach our oceans every year, with no sign of slowing. Solving the problem requires dramatic shifts in government policy, industry practice and lifestyle. Equally as important – it requires scientific investigation and information to guide change. The data being collected by GB Row will greatly enhance our understanding of conditions in the seas around the UK.”
Dr Kat Bruce is a biologist and a world expert in the use of environmental DNA – a technology that lets you survey biodiversity by analysing the DNA in water taken from rivers, lakes and oceans. After completing a PhD at the University of East Anglia, she founded NatureMetrics in 2015 to put this tool into the hands of conservationists and environmental managers all over the world, so that they can properly account for nature. Before that, Kat was a tropical ecologist working on conservation projects in the Amazon rainforest. She led several expeditions, including a descent of the Urubama river on balsa-wood rafts to document the impacts on local communities of controversial natural gas projects in Peru, and spent months living deep in the jungle in Ecuador.