Traversing European Coastlines (TREC)

The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is delighted to be hosting the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s (EMBL) Traversing European Coastlines (TREC) expedition during their week in the Solent from 13-19 August 2023. Southampton is one of 22 public engagement stops associated with TREC’s pan-European expedition, which combines ocean exploration with sampling of soil, sediment, shallow water and organisms in coastal areas. The expedition’s efforts will enable EMBL to obtain a first of its kind census of European coastal ecosystems.

NOC’s collaboration with TREC will include opportunities for residents of the Solent region to come to Southampton to engage with scientists and learn about the connectivity and interactions between humans and the planet as well as the connection between the land we live on and the ocean that makes life on earth possible.

We have a number of different activities planned that week. Everyone with an interest in planetary health is encouraged to participate!

On Wednesday 16 August NOC and EMBL will offer a programme in Southampton of engaging activities centered around planetary biology, marine science and ocean ecosystems. Pre-registration is required in order to secure a place, and there are both morning and afternoon options available. Activities will be suitable for anyone who is at least 12 years of age, and the programme will include a hand-on, game-based workshop, guided tours of the National Oceanography Centre and an exhibition area for participants to engage with NOC scientists and learn about their work. Attendees under the age of 18 will need to participate with a parent or guardian. Registration ahead of time is required, and spaces are limited to 40 for the morning (9:45-12:30 hrs) and 40 for the afternoon (13:00-15:45 hrs).

For questions about the event, please contact



On Thursday 17 August, we will have an exhibition stand at Westquay Shopping Centre for people of all ages to discover the fascinating microscopic world that lives in our ocean, such as plankton. These tiny organisms play a big role in planetary health, and we will have microscopes and models on hand to illustrate the breath of ocean biodiversity and the interrelated nature of the marine food chain. No registration is required – just show up at Westquay Shopping Centre anytime between 10 am and 4 pm and say hello! Lucky participants may walk away with a small prize.  

Later that Thursday there will be an interactive science talk from 6-7 pm at The Platform Tavern for attendees to have a pint and engage with scientists from NOC and the TREC expedition. It will be an informal and accessible evening for non-scientists to learn about the kind of research scientists are currently conducting to better understand planetary health and our changing seas. No registration is required, but attendees are encouraged to arrive early as seating will be limited.

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