Research expeditions

At any one time scientists and technicians from the UK community can be at sea on numerous vessels. Discover where they are and what they are trying to achieve.

Latest expedition

RRS James Cook

Cruise Principal Scientist & Institution Location Duration in days (begins) Aim

Richard Hobbs

Durham University

Panama Basin



January - March 2015


This cruise is the second of a series of cruises, this cruise will operate in parallel with the RV Sonne as a two ship exercise. The Sonne will also fire an airgun array and will follow the same survey line at 9km astern of the James Cook.

This cruise will essentially comprise a seismic airgun survey deploying
75 + 4 OBSs, an airgun array and a 4.5km MCS which will be hired from EEL.

The operation is planned to be in five phases
1) Deploy 4 OBS for passive recording of earthquake activity (sandra-1 to -4)
2) Deploy 25 OBS in a 5x5 grid with a spacing of 5km and first hydrophone vertical array mooring, shoot 10 30km long seismic profiles using airgun array and 1.5km steamer (area CRR)
3) Recover 20 OBS and deploy 30 OBS along a 270km profile and second hydrophone vertical array mooring; shoot 3 270km long profiles using airgun array and 4.5 km streamer in synthetic aperture mode with SONNE (area SAP)
4) Recover 25 OBS and first vertical array mooring and deploy 20 OBS in a 5x5 grid with a spacing of 5km, shoot 10 30km long seismic profiles using airgun array and 1.5km steamer (area 504B)
5) recover 25 OBS and second vertical array and recover 4 passive OBS deployed in (1).

The RV Sonne will follow the RRS James Cook for a portion of the cruise at 9km astern also firing an airgun array.

RRS Discovery

Cruise Principal Scientist & Institution Location Duration in days (begins) Aim

Alex Poulton



Southern Celtic Seas



April 2015

Shelf Seas Biogeochemistry Cruise

This is the 2nd of a series of dedicated research cruises focused on understanding the seasonal cycle of biological and chemical processing of the different forms of the nutrients and carbon. We will measure the rates at which both the photosynthetic and consumer plankton incorporate nutrients and carbon into their cellular material, and subsequently how the combined activity of this biological/chemical system influences the cycling of the major elements. This will allow us to understand the ways in which the role of the shelf system in global cycles is maintained.


Ship position

This map shows the positions of the NOC operated vessels RRS Discovery and RRS James Cook.  While every effort is made to keep this map up to date sometimes postion updates are not possible.

Update from the ship (PIM)


DTG: 290515 09:30

Zone: Z+1

Subj: PIM DY031


Pos: 50 41N  005 52W

Co:  000

Spd: 8kts


Wx: W'ly 30kts. Overcast with rain. Rough seas.



Status: On passage to first science station - IB23 off the coast of Iceland.


Intentions: ETA IB23 16:00 020615.PI


Fuel ROB: 324t


Ships Time: -5UTC
DTG: 29-05-15 0430L
a. 1948(28th) Check-lists completed and in Good Order SBE
b. 300T
c. ROB 515T
d. FW Taken Nil. ROB 135T
e. Disembarked 1/Embarked 1. POB 23.
f. 2000(28th) Clear of berth
g. POB 1928(28th)/Pilot away 0406
h. 29/0424
i. On passage to Southampton. ETA 17/0800L


Other expeditions


Learn about the research expeditions that are taking place upon the NOC based research vessels during 2014. Read more about 2014's expeditions


Learn about the research expeditions that are taking place upon the NOC based research vessels during 2013. Read more about 2013's expeditions


Learn about the research expeditions that took place upon the NOC based research vessels during 2012. Read more about 2012's expeditions

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The outputs of research generate new knowledge about the oceans. Transferring scientific knowledge to support business and industry is an important part of our NOC remit.



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Principal scientists

All updated information for cruise participants can be found using the Marine Facilities Planning website: