Research

Koukla’s crew will be contributing to various research endeavors throughout their trip.

Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation
As the name suggests, this organization connects adventurers around the world with scientists conducting research, typically of an ecological nature. It’s how we found out about several of the projects below.

Allied Whale: Humpback survey
In coordination with Allied Whale, we are going to (attempt) to take pictures of humpback whale flukes (underside of the tail), which can be used for identification purposes. We will be heading south at approximately the same time as the humpbacks. This project has been ongoing since the 70’s and has identified over 7,500 individual whales. In addition to photos, we will be collecting data on location and animal behavior for scientific and tracking use.

Marine Environmental Research Institute: Microplastics
We all know we should snip our soda can rings to avoid strangling baby turtles, and the environmental travesty that is the Great Pacific garbage patch is becoming increasingly well know, and sadly, there’s one in the North Atlantic too. Yet there is another unseed and poorly understood threat to our oceans–microplastics. We do not know the effect small, often microscopic, bits of plastic floating in our oceans may have on the environment. Therefore, we will be collecting water samples and other data to be given to researchers for analysis.

Secchi Disk study of phytoplankton concentrations
Phytoplankton accounts for approximately 50% of the world’s photosynthesis, and is an important part of the marine food chain. We use a secchi disk, which is basically a white disk attached to a surveyor’s measuring tape, to measure secchi depths. The secchi depth is the point at which you can no longer see the disk in the water. This depth correlates to ocean plankton concentrations. We are uploading our data through the secchi app created by Plymouth University, UK.

If you have a research project you think the Koukla crew could help with, please email us at schoonerkoukla@gmail.com

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