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

Malcolm Woodward



Southern Celtic Seas



March 2015

Shelf Seas Biogeochemistry cruise

We will address 4 interdisciplinary themes (below), each divided into shared tasks designed to provide a holistic view of the biogeochemistry of benthic shelf ecosystems, including the nepheloid layer. The relative size of the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) pools, microbial transformation rates and fluxes between pools will be quantified in shelf sediments during 3 integrated cruises (Winter, post-bloom Spring, late Summer) scheduled to coincide with contrasting biogeochemical conditions. The project will address the call through four modules:
Module 1: Biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen, phosphorus, silicon and carbon within sediment
Module 2: Role of sediments in carbon storage
Module 3: Role of macrofauna and the impacts of natural and anthropogenic disturbance on sediment biogeochemical processes
Module 4: Role of sediment resuspension and near-bed current flow: Impacts on carbon and nutrient sediment-water exchange in diffusive and pumped sediments


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: 270315 17:00

Zone: Z

Subj: PIM Demob DY021


Pos: SS Alongside Empress Dock


Wx: Cloudy, Harbour conditions


Status: Demob of DY021 completed

Intentions: Mobilising DY029 ongoing


Other: Diving operations carried out this afternoon. No sign of any fouling or damage to either ACD or retractable azi thruster. Viewing windows cleaned.


DTG: 300315  07:00L

Zone: Z -4

Subj: Winch Trails


Posn: 10 41.4N  058 41.6W

Co: 282

Spd: 10.9Kts


Wx: E X 15 Kts, Slt/Moderate head Sea and Swell.


Status: On Passage to Port of Spain


Intentions:  ETA Port of Spain 31/0700L. Conduct boat transfer off Port of Spain.

On completion set onto Panama. Canal transit schedule PM 5th April.

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