Supported by The Whirlwind Charitable Trust

The Whirlwind Charitable Trust is proud to sponsor the Secchi Disk Project

This long term research project was set up to gain a better understanding of the abundance of marine phytoplankton by recording their distribution and abundance across the world’s oceans. The phytoplankton in the sea account for approximately 50% of all photosynthesis on Earth and, through the food web they support, they underpin the marine food chain.

Why has Whirlwind become involved?

In part, because of the value of the project itself.

More specifically, we believe this project offers young people a highly accessible introduction to the fascination and importance of the marine ecosystem.

It offers every participant a hands-on opportunity to become a Citizen Scientist, recording phytoplankton levels in a simple, practical and enjoyable way from aboard a cruising yacht.

They will contribute worthwhile data to the project and, in the process, become better acquainted with both the hidden wonders, and the fragility, of the oceans. We see these as important steps towards a more enlightened and sustainable relationship with the marine environment for the coming generation.

Could you become involved?

We hope the answer will be ‘yes’. Please visit for more details: you will see just how easy, interesting and inexpensive it is for a group of young people on a sailing experience to make their own Secchi disk, take measurements at sea and upload the data via the free Secchi phone app.

Secchi Disk is already the world’s largest marine citizen science project with participation from numerous seafarers including global cruising sailors, commercial seafarers, fishermen and research organisations. Why not you, too? By taking part you will join a large community of motivated, environmentally aware, citizen scientists.

A number of our partner charities have already committed to supporting the project. They were quickly able to appreciate the potential participation in the programme offered to enriching the activities they provide to young people.

The greater the number of contributors to the project, the more reliable will be the data set used by researchers around the world to provide solid evidence on the state of the oceans. And the wider the participation, the greater will be the interest in and commitment to the marine environment among our future generation of leaders.

Seafarer citizen scientist ocean transparency data as a resource for phytoplankton and climate research

The Secchi Disk study’s first scientific output was published in December 2017 in the journal The Public Library of Science ONE also known as PLOS ONE. You can download the pdf directly here.

The paper is Open Access, so it is free to read, download and distribute. Broad coverage in the sailing press, includes the following.

Further Information