Long-running geographically extensive marine ecological survey, providing the 'big picture' on global ocean change

Driven by almost a century of sustained plankton observations, scientific excellence and innovation, the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey is a globally recognised leader on the impacts of environmental change on the health of our oceans.

As a large-scale global survey, it provides the scientific and policy communities with a basin-wide and long-term measure of the ecological health of marine plankton. Established in 1931, the CPR Survey is the longest running, most geographically extensive marine ecological survey in the world. Home to a considerable database of marine plankton and associated metadata that is used by researchers and policy makers to examine strategically important science pillars such as climate change, human health, fisheries, biodiversity, pathogens, invasive species, ocean acidification and natural capital.

Providing the 'big picture' on global ocean change from genes to ecosystems

The CPR Survey is of global importance in progressing understanding of natural variability and human-induced changes in our oceans. It is used by scientists, policy makers and environmental managers across the world. Over the last eight decades the purpose of the Survey has co-evolved with changing environmental policy, from purely monitoring plankton distributions to addressing and providing indicators for major marine management issues, ranging from fisheries, harmful algal blooms, biodiversity, pollution, eutrophication, ocean acidification and climate warming.

Many scientific firsts and insights have developed from examining and interrogating the CPR Survey's extensive time-series. The Survey has provided primary evidence of changes in global ocean biology for the last two IPCC reports and the UN’s first World Ocean Assessment. The results have included the first documented studies of large-scale ecological regime shifts, biogeographic, phenological and trans-arctic migrations in the marine environment in response to climate change.

Accessing CPR Survey data

The CPR Survey has an open and transparent approach to data availability, data requests and data citation. The Survey believes its plankton observation, ancillary datasets and associated metadata should be freely available to collaborating researchers. To find out which data are available and for more information accessing CPR Survey data, please visit our data portal at https://www.cprsurvey.org/data/our-data/ 

Research services we can provide

The CPR Survey offers a broad range of skills and expertise, from genes to entire marine systems. We use a variety of approaches, from the most conceptual (ecological theories) to the most practical (laboratory-based experimentation). These include:

  • Provide robust and sensitive indicators of environmental changes
  • Offer expertise in time-series analysis and interpretation of climate change impacts, phenology, regime shifts, biodiversity and invasive species

The CPR Survey International Sample Archive

Collecting today for tomorrow's technology

We hold one of the oldest, most large scale sample archives in the world. Samples collected by the CPR Survey since 1958 are stored and carefully curated, providing a bank of samples available for future analysis using new and innovative methodologies.

During routine plankton analysis, every other sample on a tow is processed by our team of specialist analysts, before being archived. The remaining 50% of the tow is not analysed but archived immediately, resulting in a library of samples available for further/alternative analysis.

The archive is home to all our samples from routine North Atlantic, South Atlantic and North Pacific tows, in addition to one-off cruises, e.g. circumnavigation of the Arctic collected in 2012. Please contact us if you are interested in accessing our International Sample Archive, or would like more information on what is available.

CPR Survey data philosophy

The CPR Survey has an open and transparent approach to data availability, data requests and data citation. The Survey believes its plankton observation, ancillary datasets and associated metadata should be freely available to collaborating researchers. Increasing the number of scientists that can access and work with CPR Survey datasets will accelerate the progress of marine ecological science and understanding; enhancing the societal benefit derived from Survey data.

To find out more about our data, and for information on how to access them, please visit our data portal at https://www.cprsurvey.org/data/our-data/ 

Towing ship

Route Operating from Company
KRISTIN SCHEPERS IB Liverpool MacAndrews Ltd
NORRONA DI / DJ Hirtshals

Smyrill Line

SELFOSS Z- / ZB / ZC Reykjavik Eimskip
HILDASAY A- Aberdeen Serco North link Ferries
SC EXPRESS M- Aberdeen Sea Cargo Ltd
NORBAY IN Liverpool P+O Ferries ( Irish Sea) Ltd
LAGARFOSS LR / V- Immingham Eimskip
ARMORIQUE PR Plymouth Brittany Ferries
NORBJORN ST Tromso Marine Supply AS
ACL SEA EB Liverpool Atlantic Container Line
SKOGAFOSS MD Reykjavik Eimskip

Geest line


LG Gothenburg DFDS
MATSON KODIAK AT Anchorage Matson Navigation Company
SIR WILFRED LAURIER NWP Pacific Vancouver Canadian research ship

Published Papers

Publications produced by CPR Survey scientists and collaborating researchers using CPR Survey data.  

CPR Survey Staff in bold. *Associate Researchers/ Research Fellows/ PhD Students 


Peer-reviewed Publications

*Bedford, J., D.G. Johns, S. Greenstreet, and A. McQuatters-Gollop. "Plankton as Prevailing Conditions: A Surveillance Role for Plankton Indicators within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive." Marine Policy 89: 109-15.

*Beaugrand, G., and R.R. Kirby. "How Do Marine Pelagic Species Respond to Climate Change? Theories and Observations." Annual Review of Marine Science 10, no. 1 (2018): 169-97.

Bonitz, F.G.W., C. Andersson, T. Trofimova, and H. Hátún. "Links between Phytoplankton Dynamics and Shell Growth of Arctica Islandica on the Faroe Shelf." Journal of Marine Systems 179: 72-87.

Hartman, S.E., M.P. Humphreys, C. Kivimäe, E.M.S. Woodward, V. Kitidis, T. McGrath, D.J. Hydes, N. Greenwood, T. Hull, C. Ostle, D.J. Pearce, D. Sivyer, B.M. Stewart, P. Walsham, S.C. Painter, E. McGovern, C. Harris, A. Griffiths, A. Smilenova, J. Clarke, C. Davis, R. Sanders, and P. Nightingale. "Seasonality and Spatial Heterogeneity of the Surface Ocean Carbonate System in the Northwest European Continental Shelf." Progress in Oceanography (2018).


Peer-reviewed Publications 

Brown, T., D. D. Kelly, S. Vercauteren, W. H. Wilson and A. Werner (2017). "How Biobanks Are Assessing and Measuring Their Financial Sustainability." Biopreservation and Biobanking 15(1): 65-71.

Capuzzo, E., C. P. Lynam, J. Barry, D. Stephens, R. M. Forster, N. Greenwood, A. McQuatters-Gollop, T. Silva, S. M. van Leeuwen and G. H. Engelhard (2017). "A decline in primary production in the North Sea over 25 years, associated with reductions in zooplankton abundance and fish stock recruitment." Global Change Biology: 1-13.

Chivers, W. J., A. W. Walne and G. C. Hays (2017). "Mismatch between marine plankton range movements and the velocity of climate change." Nature Communications 8(14434).

Clare, D. S., M. Spencer, L. A. Robinson and C. L. Frid (2017). "Explaining ecological shifts: the roles of temperature and primary production in the long‐term dynamics of benthic faunal composition." Oikos 126(8): 1123-1133.

Dees, P., E. Bresnan, A. C. Dale, M. EdwardsD. G. Johns, B. Mouat, C. Whyte and K. Davidson (2017). "Harmful algal blooms in the Eastern North Atlantic Ocean." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114(46): E9763-E9764.

Dencker, T. S., L. Pecuchet, E. Beukhof, K. Richardson, M. R. Payne and M. Lindegren (2017). "Temporal and spatial differences between taxonomic and trait biodiversity in a large marine ecosystem: Causes and consequences." PLoS ONE 12(12): e0189731.

dos Santos Schmidt, T. C., A. Slotte, J. Kennedy, S. Sundby, A. Johannessen, G. J. Óskarsson, Y. Kurita, N. C. Stenseth and O. S. Kjesbu (2017). "Oogenesis and reproductive investment of Atlantic herring are functions of not only present but long-ago environmental influences as well." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114(10): 2634-2639.

Evans, C., J. Brandsma, D. W. Pond, H. J. Venables, M. P. Meredith, H. J. Witte, S. Stammerjohn, W. H. Wilson, A. Clarke and C. P. Brussaard (2017). "Drivers of interannual variability in virioplankton abundance at the coastal Western Antarctic Peninsula and the potential effects of climate change." Environmental Microbiology 19(2): 740-755.

Everett, J. D., M. E. Baird, P. Buchanan, C. Bulman, C. Davies, R. Downie, C. Griffiths, R. Heneghan, R. J. Kloser, L. Laiolo, A. Lara-Lopez, H. Lozano-Montes, R. J. Matear, F. McEnnulty, B. Robson, W. Rochester, J. Skerratt, J. A. Smith, J. Strzelecki, I. M. Suthers, K. M. Swadling, P. van Ruth and A. J. Richardson (2017). "Modeling What We Sample and Sampling What We Model: Challenges for Zooplankton Model Assessment." Frontiers in Marine Science 4(77).

Fu, C., N. Olsen, N. Taylor, A. Grüss, S. Batten, H. Liu, P. Verley, Y.-J. Shin and H. e. J. Link (2017). "Spatial and temporal dynamics of predator-prey species interactions off western Canada." ICES Journal of Marine Science 74(8): 2107-2119.

Giering, S. L. C., R. Sanders, A. P. Martin, S. A. Henson, J. S. Riley, C. M. Marsay and D. G. Johns (2017). "Particle flux in the oceans: Challenging the steady state assumption." Global Biogeochemical Cycles 31(1): 159-171.

Giron-Nava, A., C. C. James, A. F. Johnson, D. Dannecker, B. Kolody, A. Lee, M. Nagarkar, G. M. Pao, H. Ye and D. G. Johns (2017). "Quantitative argument for long-term ecological monitoring." Marine Ecology Progress Series 572: 269-274.

Howells, R. J., S. J. Burthe, S. O. Green, M. P. Harris, M. A. Newell, A. Butler, D. G. Johns, E. J. Carnell, S. Wanless and F. Daunt (2017). "From days to decades: short- and long-term variation in environmental conditions affect offspring diet composition of a marine top predator." Marine Ecology Progress Series 583: 227-242.

Holm, M. W., T. Kiørboe, P. Brun, P. Licandro, R. Almeda and B. W. Hansen (2017). "Resting eggs in free living marine and estuarine copepods." Journal of Plankton Research: 1-14.

Hoppenrath, M., N. Yubuki, R. Stern and B. S. Leander (2017). "Ultrastructure and molecular phylogenetic position of a new marine sand-dwelling dinoflagellate from British Columbia, Canada: Pseudadenoides polypyrenoides sp. nov.(Dinophyceae)." European Journal of Phycology 52(2): 208-224.

Howells, R. J., S. J. Burthe, J. A. Green, M. P. Harris, M. A. Newell, A. Butler, D. G. Johns, E. J. Carnell, S. Wanless and F. Daunt (2017). "From days to decades: short-and long-term variation in environmental conditions affect offspring diet composition of a marine top predator." Marine Ecology Progress Series 583: 227-242.

Lawrence, S. A., S. A. Floge, J. E. Davy, S. K. Davy and W. H. Wilson (2017). "Exploratory analysis of Symbiodinium transcriptomes reveals potential latent infection by large dsDNA viruses." Environmental Microbiology.

Lindegren, M., M. Van Deurs, B. R. MacKenzie, L. Worsoe Clausen, A. Christensen and A. Rindorf (2017). "Productivity and recovery of forage fish under climate change and fishing: North Sea sandeel as a case study." Fisheries Oceanography.

Lynam, C. P., M. Llope, C. Möllmann, P. Helaouët, G. A. Bayliss-Brown and N. C. Stenseth (2017). "Interaction between top-down and bottom-up control in marine food webs." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114(8): 1952-1957.

Mahadik, G. A., C. Castellani and M. G. *Mazzocchi (2017). "Effect of diatom morphology on the small-scale behavior of the copepod Temora stylifera (Dana, 1849)." Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 493(Supplement C): 41-48.

Manno, C., N. Bednaršek, G. A. Tarling, V. L. Peck, S. Comeau, D. Adhikari, D. C. E. Bakker, E. Bauerfeind, A. J. Bergan, M. I. Berning, E. Buitenhuis, A. K. Burridge, M. Chierici, S. Flöter, A. Fransson, J. Gardner, E. L. Howes, N. Keul, K. Kimoto, P. Kohnert, G. L. Lawson, S. Lischka, A. Maas, L. Mekkes, R. L. Oakes, C. Pebody, K. T. C. A. Peijnenburg, M. Seifert, J. Skinner, P. S. Thibodeau, D. Wall-Palmer and P. Ziveri (2017). "Shelled pteropods in peril: Assessing vulnerability in a high CO2 ocean." Earth-Science Reviews 169: 132-145.

McQuatters-Gollop, A., D. G. Johns, E. Bresnan, J. Skinner, I. Rombouts, R. Stern, A. *Aubert, M. Johansen, J. *Bedford and A. Knights (2017). "From microscope to management: The critical value of plankton taxonomy to marine policy and biodiversity conservation." Marine Policy 83: 1-10.

Meyer-Gutbrod, E. L. and C. H. Greene (2017). "Uncertain recovery of the North Atlantic right whale in a changing ocean." Global Change Biology: 1-10.

Middleton, J. E., J. Martínez Martínez, W. H. Wilson and N. R. Record (2017). "Functional dynamics of Emiliania huxleyi virus‐host interactions across multiple spatial scales." Limnology and Oceanography 62(3): 922-933.

Reuman, D. C., L. Zhao, L. W. Sheppard, P. C. Reid and J. E. Cohen (2017). "Synchrony affects Taylor’s law in theory and data." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: 201703593.

Serpetti, N., A. R. Baudron, M. T. Burrows, B. L. Payne, P. Helaouët, P. G. Fernandes and J. J. Heymans (2017). "Impact of ocean warming on sustainable fisheries management informs the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries." Scientific Reports 7(1): 13438.

Sheppard, L. W., P. C. Reid and D. C. Reuman (2017). "Rapid surrogate testing of wavelet coherences." EPJ Nonlinear Biomedical Physics 5: 1.

Weynberg, K., M. Allen and W. H. Wilson (2017). "Marine Prasinoviruses and Their Tiny Plankton Hosts: A Review." Viruses 9(3): 43.

Wilson, W. H., I. C. Gilg, M. Moniruzzaman, E. K. Field, S. Koren, G. R. LeCleir, J. M. Martínez, N. J. Poulton, B. K. Swan and R. Stepanauskas (2017). "Genomic exploration of individual giant ocean viruses." The ISME Journal 11: 1736-1745.

Technical Reports/ Books

Bresnan, E., C. B. Austin, C. J. A. Campos, K. Davidson, M. Edwards, A. Hall, D. Lees, A. Mckinney, S. Milligang and J. Silkeh (2017). Human Health. MCCIP Science Review 2017.

Castellani, C. and M. Edwards (2017). Marine Plankton: A Practical Guide to Ecology, Methodology, and Taxonomy, Oxford University Press.

Costello, M. J., Z. Basher, L. McLeod, I. Assad, S. Claus, F. Hernandez, J. Mees, L. Vandepitte, M. Yasuhara, H. Gislason, M. Edwards, W. Appeltans, H. Enevoldsen, G. Edgar, P. Miloslavich, S. D. Monte and I. S. Pinto (2016). Chapter 7. Methods for the observation of marine biodiversity  In: The GEO Handbook on Biodiversity Observation Networks, Springer International Publishing AG.

Cottier-Cook, E. J., C. Beveridge, J. D. D. Bishop, J. Brodie, P. F. Clark, G. Epstein, S. R. Jenkins, D. G. Johns, J. Loxton, A. MacLeod, C. Maggs, D. Minchin, F. Mineur, J. Sewell and C. A. and Wood (2017). Non-native species. MCCIP Science Review 201747-61.

Edwards, M.D. BroughtonR. CampG. GrahamP. Helaouët and R. Stern (2017). AtlantOS plankton report: Based on observations from the Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey. SAHFOS Technical Report12: 1-15.

Williamson, P., C. Turley and C. Ostle (2017). Ocean acidification. MCCIP Science Review 201747-61.

Wootton, M.A. C. FischerC. OstleJ. SkinnerD. P. Stevens and D. G. Johns (In Press). Using the Continuous Plankton Recorder to Study the Distribution and Ecology of Marine Pelagic Copepods. New York Nova Science Publishers, Inc.


Staff List

David Johns
Head of CPR Survey

David specialises (>19 years) in plankton macroecology, long-term dataset analysis and para-taxonomy.

Email: Telephone Number:
+44 (0)1752 426492
Sonia Batten
Director North Pacific CPR Survey

Sonia is the Director of North Pacific CPR Survey, as the western outpost in British Columbia, Canada. Sonia completed her BSc. and PhD. at Southampton University before joining CPR Survey in Plymouth in 1994.

Gemma Brice
Publishing Officer and Plankton Analyst

As a Plankton Analyst Gemma has gained over 10 years of taxonomic expertise in phyto and zooplankton from the North Atlantic and Pacific regions of the survey.

Email: Telephone Number:
+44 (0)1752 426495
Martina Brunetta
Plankton Analyst and Silk Preparer

Martina works as a Plankton Analyst and Silk Preparation Technician.

Email: Telephone Number:
+44 (0)1752 426495
Robert Camp
Plankton Analyst & Instrumentation Technician

Rob joined CPR Survey as a part-time Plankton Analyst in 2009.

Email: Telephone Number:
+44 (0)1752 426307
Chiara Consolaro
Plankton Analyst

Chiara is a Plankton Analyst and is currently developing her taxonomic skills in identifying phytoplankton and zooplankton from North Atlantic samples. She also helps the rest of the team, processing log forms and with sample preparation.

Email: Telephone Number:
+44 (0) 1752 426345
Martin Edwards
Chief Scientist

Martin is a Scientist at the MBA and Professor of Ocean Ecology at the University of Plymouth. He has over 15 years experience in research and his primary research interest is on climate/ environmental change impacts on marine ecosystems.

Email: Telephone Number:
+44 (0)1752 426480
Lance Gregory
Operations and Workshop Manager

Lance manages the Operations and Workshop teams for the CPR Survey.

Email: Telephone Number:
+44 (0)1752 426308
Usha Jha
Plankton Analyst and Silk Preparer

Usha is a Plankton Analyst and her main role is to analyse North Atlantic and North Pacific CPR samples. She also prepares the CPR samples, organises monthly team meetings and maintains the MBA zooplankton reference collection.

Email: Telephone Number:
+44 (0)1752 426345
Clare Ostle
Research Fellow
Clare specialises in marine biogeochemistry (both practically and theoretically), data integration, and data analysis. In particular, her interest’s lie in looking at the plankton community influence on the marine carbonate system and vice versa.
Email: Telephone Number:
+44 (0)1752 426417
Rowena Stern
Research Fellow Molecular Ecology

Dr Rowena Stern is a research fellow in molecular ecology where she applies molecular methods to explore changes in planktonic microbial eukaryotes (or protist) dynamics and their evolution.

Email: Telephone Number:
+44(0)1752 426329
Claire M. Taylor
Deputy Laboratory Manager & Plankton Analyst

Claire has worked for the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey for the past 12 ½ years.  She began as a Plankton Analyst in 2003 and for the past 3 ½ years has combined this role with that of Deputy Laboratory Manager.  Claire has gained

Email: Telephone Number:
+44 (0)1752 426350
David Wilson
Ships Liaison Officer

Dave joined the Operations team in July 2015. He brings a wealth of life at sea to the job of Ships Liaison Officer. Having joined the Royal Navy in 1970, aged just 15 years old, he had circumnavigated the globe twice by the age of 21.

Email: Telephone Number:
+44(0)1752 426306
Marianne Wootton
Senior Plankton Analyst

Marianne is Senior Analyst at CPR Survey and Training Coordinator for the Global Alliance of CPR Surveys.  Having worked for the organisation as a Plankton Analyst since 2002, she has a wealth of experience in phytoplankton and zooplankton ana

Email: Telephone Number:
+44(0)1752 426491