Science Calls on Sailors with Secchi App

When a team of UK-based scientists learned that the population of the Earth’s marine phytoplankton had declined 40 percent since 1950, they set out to find the cause. Phytoplankton is the ocean’s primary producer, and a decrease in its population could mean trouble for oxygen production, food chain supply and climate regulation.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

When a team of UK-based scientists learned that the population of the Earth’s marine phytoplankton had declined 40 percent since 1950, they set out to find the cause. Phytoplankton is the ocean’s primary producer, and a decrease in its population could mean trouble for oxygen production, food chain supply and climate regulation. 

 A citizen science project: the Secchi App

A citizen science project: the Secchi App

The scientists quickly realized there weren’t enough marine biologists to cover the whole ocean, so they created a citizen science project—the Secchi App—and asked sailors around the world to help collect research. 

 With a homemade Secchi disk and a simple app, any sailor can become a scientist

With a homemade Secchi disk and a simple app, any sailor can become a scientist

Here’s how it works: sailors measure Secchi Depth (the clarity of seawater) using a Secchi disk (any round piece of white plastic, such as a bucket lid, attached to a measuring tape). They lower the disk into the water and note the depth at which the disk is no longer visible from the surface. Then, they upload results to Secchi, a free app, which tracks data to a central database. Eventually, these results will help research if—and why—plankton populations are changing. To get involved, visit secchidisk.org.

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Check the waypoint  Most errors with GPS and paper chart navigation are caused by the operator punching in the wrong numbers or plotting the lat/long incorrectly. The surest way to double-check a ...read more

Furlex-Electric

Gear: Seldén’s Furlex Electric

Furl Power Seldén’s Furlex Electric offers an easy path into the world of sweat-free headsail furling. The compact unit can be retrofitted to an existing manual Furlex unit or installed as a replacement for whatever you’ve got now. Its DC-DC converter accepts your boat’s 12V or ...read more

11_DSC8423Tom-Zydler

Cruising: Nova Scotia

There’s a unique cruising ground that combines access to urban locations with easy escapes to wilderness and nature. Its native people may be the friendliest on the east coast of North America. Its coastline runs 250 nautical miles in a straight line, but that should be ...read more

01-LEAD-shutterstock_727849660

Boat Monitoring System

Boat Oversight In a world where you can track your friends’ locations in real time and stream yourself live on the internet, it should come as no surprise that you can also keep a close eye on your boat from the comfort of home. In fact, not only is there a plethora of options ...read more

pilot_saloon_42-_en_navigation_11

Boat Review: Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 42

Old salts grouse about modern aesthetics. It’s just what they do, and the hard lines and spartan interiors of today’s production boats give them many reasons to complain. French builder Wauquiez, however, seems to consistently be able to marry contemporary elements with ...read more

JuneWaterlines

Sights and Stories Cruising the Caribbean

Though I hate to think of myself as a “disaster tourist,” I can’t deny one of the things I was most curious about as I sailed south last fall to visit St. Martin, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico was how much hurricane damage I would see. I’m sure no one needs reminding that ...read more