Opportunities and collaboration

A platform for measurements

Scientists collecting water samples

Extended Ellett Line cruises include groups of scientists who are taking advantage of the fact that the ship is crossing the North Atlantic and collecting water samples, to do biological and chemical sampling. Examples of opportunistic data collection include iron, chlorophyll, phytoplankton species, trace metals, carbon, and oxygen isotopes. No additional ship time is required to carry out this sampling, so the only cost to the scientists is the time spent on board. Collecting biogeochemical data alongside physical data has led to new insight into the complex relationships between ecosystems and the marine environment.

Equipment being lowered

The annual cruises are also used to deploy subsurface floats as a continuing contribution to the international Argo programme. The UK floats are funded by the Met Office and typically three or four are sent on their way from each Extended Ellett Line cruises.

Coordinating shiptime for maximum benefit

As well as making the most of the spare water collected during the cruises, Extended Ellett Line cruises include additional days at sea funded by separate NERC or European projects. Taking this approach saves money by reducing the time spent steaming from port to study site.


Training the next generation of marine scientists

Young scientists enjoying life at sea

The regular cruises are staffed by experienced and skilled scientists, technicians and engineers, supported by an enthusiastic team of students and junior scientists. The cruises are a fantastic opportunity for young scientists to gain experience in the field, learning about how oceanographic data of all varieties are collected. They see for themselves the thrills and spills of life at sea, and many go on to complete projects using data from the cruises they took part in.

The following universities and centres have benefited from sending students and staff to sea on Extended Ellett Line cruises since 1996:

Aberdeen University
Environmental Research Institute, UHI, Thurso
Estonian Marine Institute
Heriot Watt University
Instituto de Investigaciones Mariñas, Vigo, Spain
Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Portsmouth University
Queens University Belfast
San Diego State University
Sea Mammal Research Unit
University College Cork
University of Bristol
University of Cambridge
University of East Anglia

University of Edinburgh
University of Exeter
University of Galway
University of Highlands and Islands
University of Las Palmas, Spain
University of Leicester
University of Liverpool
University of Newcastle
University of Plymouth
University of Portsmouth
University of Reading
University of Southampton
University of Vigo
Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, USA

If you or your staff/students would like to take part in an Extended Ellett Line cruise then contact the PIs (listed on the People page)

International planning and collaboration

The Extended Ellett Line project is carried out in close collaboration with scientists from the UK and other countries who run similar programmes in the North Atlantic. Analysing the results from all these programmes together leads to new insight into the ocean circulation and climate of the region. The Extended Ellett Line investigators are key players in the international planning of developing science programmes in order to make the best use of resources.

The Extended Ellett Line form the eastern part of the OSNAP array.


Map of OSNAP, the new North Atlantic monitoring programme

The Extended Ellett Line collaborates with EU project NACLIM.