From outer to inner space – meet the scientists who use satellites to unlock the secrets of the ocea

From outer to inner space – meet the scientists who use satellites to unlock the secrets of the ocean around us

dreamstime_Mmortal _19930060 

PML ocean scientists are celebrating World Space Week (4-10 October) with an invitation to members of the public to visit the laboratory to find out how satellites in space are unlocking the secrets of our seas.

‘From outer to inner space - Using satellites to monitor the seas around us’, is taking place on Thursday 10 October, 6.45pm-9pm and is FREE, simply register via email to:

Satellites are used for a variety of purposes, perhaps the best known are communications satellites that provide TV signals and mobile phone connections; others are Earth Observation satellites, often circling the globe many times each day, scanning land and ocean using sophisticated sensors to measure many aspects of the Earth’s surface. The satellites PML works with provide wide scale observations of the sea surface, to gain information on how the ocean functions, how it interacts with the atmosphere and the terrestrial environment, and how it is being affected by global changes. This information is also of great interest to fisheries management and the early detection of harmful algal blooms.

PML is at the forefront of developing and refining techniques, improving accuracy of the information that can be gained from satellites relating to the world ocean but also our local seas. PML is a global leader in this branch of science and hosts one of the largest groups of experts in this field, and undertakes projects across the world but also here on our doorstep in Plymouth.

‘From outer to inner space - Using satellites to monitor the seas around us’ includes talks from PML’s team of internationally renowned scientists and includes a key presentation from Professor Trevor Platt, who is a Fellow of the Royal Society, Executive Director of the Partnership for the Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) and a Professorial Fellow at PML. The event will be hosted by Kelvin Boot, Science Communicator and BBC Radio 4 Presenter.

This is a free event and all you have to do is register via email:, doors will open at 6.45pm with the talks starting at 7pm followed by an opportunity to meet with the experts. This event is supported by the EU ISECA project.

The event at PML will focus on the opportunities and use of satellites for monitoring water quality and, for example, why the sea foams, how basking sharks find their food in the vast ocean and which areas of our seas should be set aside as bird feeding areas. Amazingly plankton, amongst the smallest organisms on our planet, can be spotted from space, come and find out how PML scientists use this information to predict when and where harmful algal blooms might occur; where we should place marine conservation zones and how the seas are reacting to global phenomena such as climate change and rising temperatures.

Other recent news articles


Are we underestimating microplastics in the marine environment

A new study, led by Plymouth Marine Laboratory, suggests an underestimation of microplastics in the ocean.


Acidifying oceans may threaten crucial links in Earth climate cycles

A review of more than two hundred studies highlights where research needs to focus if we are to understand vital oceanic processes that can alter the Earth’s climate.


How well can we predict the future Fish of the Day?

An international team of modellers and researchers have collaborated to find out how reliable projections of today’s fisheries forecasting models are in the North-East Atlantic.