Yesterday, a group of UTC students visited Royal Research Ship Discovery currently docked at Peel Port. The trip was organised by the Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) Outreach team, The Challenger Society for Marine Science and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).
Students began the day with a brief introduction about the ship from Professor Ed Hill, Executive Director of the NOC. He explained where and when the ship was built, why it was currently docked in Liverpool and some of the fascinating research voyages it has completed.
Throughout the day students visited a series of workshops lead by PHD students. The first of which explored the effect carbon dioxide levels have on marine life and the wider food chain.
Following on from the workshop, it was time for students to head down to the dock and make their way to the ship. Once on-board RSS Discovery, students were initially met by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Roz Gladden where they discussed a marine science project they had recently investigated.
Afterwards, the LJMU Outreach team invited students on a tour of the ship. The tour began with a visit to the bridge where students gained an insight into RSS Discovery’s navigational systems. They were also invited to don the captain’s cap and sit in the captain’s chair!
Students then headed down into the ship’s research laboratories. This part of the tour was a brilliant opportunity for students to discover some of the amazing work carried out by the research team whilst out on a voyage.
Moving on from the laboratories students headed up to the top deck where they were able to view some of the machinery and tools used by the research teams. They also had the opportunity to try on the suits worn by researchers whilst out on deck!
Once the tour of the ship was completed students headed back inside for the second workshop of the day. This time, students explored the effect plastic waste has on marine animals and discovered what they can do to help prevent pollution of the world’s oceans.
After a quick lunch, a panel of marine biologists, PHD students and the captain of RSS Discover answered questions from our students. This proved extremely useful as students gained an insight of the best routes into the marine biology world.
Following on from the question and answer session it was time for students to present their posters to the expert judges. Three groups of students had produced research posters giving information on different marine science topics, including the inbreeding of seals, plastic waste in the ocean and the effect of microbeads.
A marine biochemist commented on the student’s work – “The level of detail and referencing within each poster is brilliant. They wouldn’t look out of place at a marine science conference.”
After some consideration, judges selected the microbeads project as the winner. The winning group were awarded with a first-place prize, whilst the other two groups were awarded with runners-up prizes.
Overall, the trip was a huge success. Students thoroughly enjoyed exploring RSS Discovery and found interacting with marine biologists and oceanographists a highly rewarding experience. A huge thank you to the Liverpool John Moores University Outreach team, The Challenger Society for Marine Science and the National Oceanography Centre for inviting us along!
Sam, Year 11 reflected on the trip – “I had a brilliant day. Exploring RSS Discover was so much fun! It was good to meet so many experts in the marine biology and oceanography world. I particularly enjoyed trying on the researcher’s deck suits!”