Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) hosted the 58th Marine Measurement Forum (MMF) over a two day period in mid-September when delegates were afforded the opportunity to visit the wide range of marine science facilities that Plymouth has to offer ahead of the seminar itself. On 14th September attendees were invited to join the PML hosts at the Plymouth University Marine Station for tours of the station’s facilities and the research vessels of PML, Plymouth University, the Marine Biological Association and Sonardyne Ltd. This provided a great opportunity to showcase the wealth of local collaborative resources that the area offers to both marine science and industry. As is usually the case the sun was shining in Plymouth and a well-attended evening BBQ, hosted by PML, concluded an enjoyable day allowing great networking opportunities.
The main MMF event was held the next day in PML’s modern conference facility. With approximately 70 delegates present Professor Stephen de Mora, PML’s Chief Executive, welcomed attendees and introduced the impressive programme of thirteen presentations. The first talk of the day was given by Elizabeth Paull from Aquatec Group who discussed applications for underwater optical communication devices. Following Elizabeth was Robert Camp from SAHFOS, who presented on the use of a Flow Cam Macro for rapid quantification and identification of zooplankton captured on their suite of Continuous Plankton Recorders (CPRs). To round up the first session Carlos Campos from Cefas presented a satellite based approach to monitoring harmful algal blooms and water quality for shellfish farming. After the first of the day’s productive networking breaks the second session commenced, focusing on autonomous systems for data collection. Sam Forbes, RS Aqua, showcased integrated sensors for fisheries’ applications using a Liquid Robotics autonomous Wave Glider. Continuing the theme of unmanned surface vessels Mike Poole from AutoNaut and Phil Johnston from Seiche presented their collaborative work on autonomous passive acoustic monitoring. They were followed by Jim Gardner from Valeport who reported on interesting local applications for the RapidCast system which enables underway acquisition of high resolution speed of sound measurements. The concluding talk of this session was given by George Graham from SAHFOS, who discussed his work in integrating additional autonomous sensors to the laboratory’s fleet of aforementioned CPRs.
After lunch Roger Scrivens, speaking on behalf of the MMF Steering Group, updated the audience on plans for MMF 59 through to MMF 61 in 2017 and 2018. Lucy Maclennan, Fugro EMU, then presented work that the company had completed on a Poole Bay nearshore replenishment trial followed by Stuart Slade, Sonardyne, who provided an update on the company’s capabilities in seabed geodesy. To round up this session, Martin Bishop from Emeritus Solutions reviewed his work on thermionic valves and underwater acoustics. After another boisterous networking break Stephen Taylor from Geomatrix opened the final session by presenting on a Heuristic Tidal Advisor which turned out to be a novel method for tidal prediction. Then Jim Gardner, Valeport, returned to the stage for his second presentation of the day when he reviewed a recent local tidal surge, which caused the sinking of several small boats in a Plymouth marina. Jim’s detective work led him to conclude that the likely source of this surge was a series of large thunderstorms moving up the English Channel. The day’s final talk was given by Tim Smyth from PML who presented some recent work on autonomous monitoring of ship’s emissions.
The programme was closed by PML’s James Fishwick who had headed up the organising team. He thanked all the speakers for what had been a very interesting and informative series of presentations. Attendees were then granted the opportunity to tour PML’s many areas of interest including the new state-of-the-art single cell genomics facility (a joint project with the University of Exeter); the mesocosm facility; the seawater hall, highlighting some of PML’s plankton research; and a high level overview of the work of PML’s world-class remote sensing group.