We’re working on a very cool project with The Marine Biological Association (MBA) at the moment so we wanted to give you a sneak preview.  We have joined forces with the MBA and the Marine Business Technology Centre (MBTC) , both based in Plymouth, to tell the fascinating story of the Continous Plankton Recorder (CPR). This record breaking survey is the oldest and most extensive marine monitoring programme in  the world.

The Marine Biological Association CPR

What is it? For the past 80+ years the Continuous Plankton Recorder has been collecting samples of tiny plankton from all over the world. The idea is simple. First, the Marine Biological Association recruit volunteers from Merchant shipping. They then attach the plankton recorders to their vessels. As these are towed, they collect plankton samples and because they travel the world, this provides global plankton samples. Next, these samples of tiny plants and animals are sent back to the MBA labs in Plymouth, where they’re then analysed.  Why? Well, the makeup and concentration of the plankton help tell an interesting story. The plankton inform the scientists about the health of our oceans. The story they tell is one of climate change. The work at the MBA doesn’t stop there however. Their findings are helping to inform government policy on such issues as fish stocks and quotas.
The Continuous Plankton Recorder aboard RV Sepia in Plymouth Sound photographed by Plymouth video production company

The Continuous Plankton Recorder aboard RV Sepia in Plymouth Sound

Virtual Reality Tells the MBA’s Story

So what are we, Soundview, doing? Well we’re helping to tell this compelling story using Virtual Reality and gaming technology.  We are creating a VR experience for the MBA and MBTC.  This will take viewers for ‘a ride’ on The MBA’s research ship RV Sepia. They will then dive below the waves in VR to get close up to a particular type of plankton called a Copapod. This interactive encounter will show them how changes to our oceans are affecting plankton numbers. Finally, viewers will meet the scientists behind the research programme in the MBA’s laboratory. Its an immersive way to share the amazing work that goes on there.
The project is currently in production and is supported by I-Mayflower. Through the scheme we have recruited an  intern and recent graduate  from The University of Plymouth who we have set the task of realising the underwater world of  and  the tiny plankton that are so important to health of our Earth. We can’t wait to try out the VR experience. Find out more about our virtual reality work here.
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