2018 was a milestone year for the CPR Survey, marking 60 years of continuous monitoring in the North Atlantic. Although the Survey has been operating since 1931, standardised methods of sample collection and analysis were brought in to start in 1958, and have remained unchanged since then, resulting in a globally important and unique source of information on the health of the ocean.
In the marine environment, long-term datasets are rare, and those that do occur typically collect samples in coastal environments. In contrast, the CPR Survey operates in the open ocean, towing transects every month over thousands of nautical miles. By using the same methods over 6 decades, CPR data have helped progress our understanding of the marine environment, providing a form of “yard-stick” against which new measurements can be compared. Such baseline information is essential in identifying if, when and where changes have occurred, and help support the development of appropriate management of our seas.
Throughout 2018 we used the hashtag #60yearsofdata to highlight both the achievements of the CPR Survey during this time, and the work done on a day to day basis by the CPR team that goes in to running and maintaining this unique monitoring programme. You can follow these posts throughout the year on our official Twitter and Facebook page.
Image. Sir Alister Hardy with an early Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR), circa 1931