Research ship, the Prince Madog, celebrates 20 years of service to education and science. Based at Bangor University in Wales, UK, the ship has changed the way we understand marine and coastal sciences. This vessel is an essential tool at the School of Ocean Sciences, the only one of its kind in the UK and one of the largest in Europe.
The Prince Madog is a multi-purpose and flexible research vessel used to conduct marine research along the British coastline and in the Irish and Celtic Seas. As the UK’s only fully seagoing research ship, it’s commonly used to train future marine scientists at Bangor University and further afield.
“As we embark on the United Nations Decade of Ocean science this year, it is an especially fitting time to reflect on the 20 years of magnificent service to marine research, education and training provided by RV Prince Madog and to look forward to the important work yet to be done in the coming decade, – undertaking the science we need for the ocean we want – clean, healthy, safe, productive, predicted and inspiring”, said Professor Ed Hill, Chief Executive of the National Oceanography Centre.
The Prince Madog is not just used for academic research. Other research groups and even industry and government agencies can benefit from this research vessel. In fact, the ship is often used to gather data around the British Isles to assist the government in developing the best fisheries and marine policies. In addition, research conducted on board the Prince Madog has influenced the curriculum of marine students worldwide.
“Research and teaching aboard the Prince Madog, the largest research vessel in the UK higher education sector, focuses on the vital coastal seas. These shallower seas are important for fishing, marine renewable energy, recreation and tourism. The ship is capable of working in strong currents and most weather conditions and was custom built to undertake scientific surveys across the spectrum of marine science, from coastal waters to the shelf edge”, said Head of School, Professor John Turner, explaining the ship’s role.
Over the past two decades, the Prince Madog has been involved in a variety of science projects. For example, data collected with this vessel was used to assess the impact of trawling the seabed, and subsequent results contributed to sustainable policies for fisheries. In addition, the ship’s high-tech sonar equipment was ideal for locating shipwrecks along the Welsh coastline. By studying the seabed around these shipwrecks, researchers were able to advise the renewable energy industry regarding the best locations to place wind turbines and other seabed structures. Another vital project, first developed at Bangor University, involved using seashells collected by the Prince Madog to learn about past coastal climates in Europe.
“The Prince Madog has been an asset to Wales, the UK and internationally, both in education and research. The impact of School of Ocean Sciences research over decades is remarkable. It has changed science in a number of spheres, re-written textbooks and played an important role in supporting the continued sustainable development of the marine environment. We look forward to many more years of ground-breaking research and impact from the decks of the Prince Madog”, concluded Professor Paul Spencer, Pro Vice-Chancellor.
Picture by Gareth James / RV Prince Madog at Roath Lock / CC BY-SA 2.0