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Exploring Ascension’s Physical Oceanography

19 July 2023

Conservation, Government, Press Release


Last week the team were joined by Dr Phil Hosegood and Dr Kit Stokes from Plymouth University. They are working with AIG Conservation to study and explain Ascension's physical oceanography, developing models to predict the patterns of currents around Ascension.

To improve the accuracy of these models the team used data from two Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) that were retrieved from the northwest of the island, after a six-month period. This instrument measures the speed of water flow across the entire water column using sound (the Doppler effect).

After collecting the data, these ADCPs were returned to their monitoring sites and another two were deployed in North East Bay and near Springers Beach. These will be retrieved every few months, improving the accuracy of models and our understanding of Ascension's marine environment.

These models can then be applied in several ways:

  • Explain biological processes, e.g. the movements of our shark population.
  • Predict the movement of particles around Ascension's coast (e.g. the movement of turtle hatchlings and crab larvae).
  • Identify areas of high productivity from bodies of water upwellings (deep water being dragged to the surface) and convergences (surface water being forced downwards).

The duo also delivered a fantastic talk, "Ascension's Ocean Explained," to the local community at the Travellers Hill BFBS cinema on Thursday night. The talk will be shared online via our Facebook page (@AscensionMPA), so please make sure to check it out if you missed it.