Almost 150 people from across the globe took part in an online conference to celebrate 90 years of world-class science.

Marine Biological Association (MBA) is home to The Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey, the longest running and most geographically extensive marine survey in the world.

Now in its 90th year, the Survey has helped shape scientific understanding about the health of our ocean, and how marine life is changing in response to pressures like climate change.

September 15, 2021, marked the 90th anniversary of the first CPR tow, and to celebrate this milestone anniversary, the MBA hosted a free online conference to share the highlights and achievements of the CPR Survey from over the last 9 decades.

The conference, which featured talks and live Q+A sessions with experts from around the world, delved into the secrets and successes of the Survey, explored themes such as impacts and applications of CPR data, global coverage of monitoring, and the exciting future of the CPR Survey. Speakers and guests tuned in from many countries across the world, including New Zealand, South Africa, the United States of America, France and the UK.

David Johns, head of the CPR Survey said: "I wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who attended the CPR conference. It was an excellent showcase of the amazing, innovative science behind the CPR Survey, which has been providing invaluable data from the base of the marine food-web for many decades. With the centenary of the CPR in just ten years time, we're looking forward to expanding the possibilities of the survey even further."

To mark the occasion, a special CPR cake, featuring an edible model of the SS Albatross - the first merchant vessel to tow a CPR, a 3D CPR unit and intricate plankton details was presented at a VIP celebration. The MBA also honoured those who contributed greatly to the CPR survey with exclusive prints of CPR artwork, especially created by artist Debbie Mason. 

Started in 1931 as a means of predicting where the best fishing grounds would be, the Survey has gone on to cover more than 7 million nautical miles of ocean, earning itself a Guinness World Record, and is today widely regarded as one of the most important long-term marine monitoring programmes in the world.

The success of this extensive monitoring programme is in large part due to the long-term support of the international shipping community. Every month, mechanical sampling instruments, known as Continuous Plankton Recorders (CPRs), are sent out to a navy of volunteer ships as they criss-cross the North Sea and North Atlantic. From passenger ferries, to cargo ships, the captains and crew tow CPRs behind their ships as they ply their normal trade routes.

If you missed the conference, you can watch any of the four sessions on our YouTube channel

We would like to thank everyone for the birthday messages - we had some fantastic video messages from television presenter Iolo Williams, Plymouth Labour MP Luke Pollard, crew aboard merchant vessels and many more. You can watch the birthday messages on our Twitter accounts, @thembauk and @CPRSurvey using the hashtag, #CPR90.

Sep 22, 2021 By nerblo