Well, I'm new to the forum - hello - and I'm here to promote a Citizen Science project about the marine plankton that wants to involve seafarers.

It's conducted by a free smartphone app called Secchi in conjunction with a simple to make Secchi Disk, and its home website is http://www.secchidisk.org

So, by way of some background.

Two years ago a paper in the science magazine Nature reported that the global phytoplankton population had declined by 40% since the 1950s.

Phytoplankton primary production governs marine productivity at all levels above in the marine food chain. The phytoplankton also create 50% of the oxygen in the air we breathe, and, by drawing down carbon dioxide, they influence the climate. Chemicals released by some phytoplankton when they die also help create the clouds in the sky and the smell of the sea. Changes in phytoplankton abundance therefore influence the global ecology.

The report of a global decline in phytoplankton abundance provoked controversy among marine scientists, some of whom thought abundance had actually increased. Part of the controversy stems from poor data coverage of the oceans - there aren't that many scientists collecting data - and while we now have satellite imagery such as SeaWifs - in-situ data is invaluable.

In contrast to a few scientists, there are a lot of seafarers and hence the Citizen Science project.

Please take a look at the website. I'd be interested to hear your views.

So far the response from sailors who have seen the media coverage has been very positive. Within two days of the project's launch on the 21st February we received data from New Zealand and the Mediterranean Sea.

There is a BBC News report here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21547272

I am posting on this forum to raise awareness of the project and encourage you to participate.

I hope you find it interesting and will want to take part, and help make the project a success.

Thank you