University to launch coastal research vessel

Scientists at the University of Liverpool will launch a new coastal research vessel to help further understanding into plant and animal life in the Irish Sea.

The catamaran can take up to 12 students and four crew members and will be used to sample all aspects of marine ecosystems, including monitoring water chemistry and surveying wild sea birds and fish.  The vessel will be officially named, Marisa of Liverpool Marisa means ‘of the sea’ in Latin – at a ceremony at Liverpool’s Albert Dock later this year.

The vessel, designed by the Aluminium Boatbuilding Company, also provides laboratory space for analytical work and large, stable areas for academic study.  The launch of the boat comes more than 120 years after the University’s first operational vessel in the late 1800s.  The steam yacht, called Ladybird, was the University’s first research boat and run under the guidance of Professor William Herdman – a renowned marine zoologist and oceanographer. 

Professor Chris Frid, from the University’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “The University has been carrying out marine biology and oceanographic research since 1881 and has operated a number of different vessels.  William Herdman was the first Professor of Natural History at the University and was instrumental in establishing the Marine Biological Station at Port Erin on the Isle of Man, where it operated for 100 years. Scientific knowledge and technology has changed a great deal since then and we now need a research vessel that can help us respond to 21st century environmental challenges.

“The catamaran has been designed to work in the coastal waters of the UK and inshore areas such as estuaries and bays.  It has the facilities, including lab and study areas, to sample and process environmental data and analyse marine life from plankton to fish and birds.  It will be a valuable resource for both undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as those working in fishing or environmental industries.”

Lady Sheila Newby, wife of Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Howard Newby, will officially name the vessel outside Liverpool’s Tate Gallery in September.  Please contact Samantha Martin on the number below if you plan to attend. 

Notes to editors:

1. University of Liverpool research vessels:
“¢ Ladybird, steam yacht, 1887
“¢ Runa, steam yacht, 1887
“¢ Runa II, 20ft launch, 1887
“¢ William Herdman, converted motor fishing boat, 1938
“¢ Cyprus, small launch, 1950
“¢ Silver Spray, 26ft, no known date
“¢ Cuma, 65ft, 1967
“¢ Sula, Diving tender, 1987
“¢ Marisa, catamaran, 2009

2. The University of Liverpool is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive institutions in the UK. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than £93 million annually.


Leave a comment