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Research proposals

Project sections

a. Data collection, photographs of all particles down to 20 microns in 500ml of water taken from the surface of all Oceans. Currently 30 yachts crossing oceans are collecting samples, this needs to be increased to 200. This data is currently not being collected

b. Image analysis of the samples, and the relationship of satellite imagery with the samples. We know plastic impacts indirectly on the surface roughness of the water, this can be seen from space, but it has not been calibrated on quantified.

c. Analysis of particles on samples collected, and analysis of SML layer; Most of the world’s lipophilic toxic chemicals, black carbon soot and microplastic, end up in the SML later. It returns in rainwater from the oceans after a few days, weeks, or years to fall as rainwater back on land.  Studies have already confirmed this for micro and molecular plastic, the needs to be expanded and will surface water samples collected all over the globe, the opportunity is now possible.

Project details

The GOES project is a CDCP collaborative data collection project for marine plankton, and particle pollution from microplastics and partially combusted carbon for coastal and oceanic zones.  Currently 30 sailing vessels are sampling on passage across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as coastal zones.  We wish to try and expand the number to 200 to make it the world’s largest oceanic marine research sampling project.


The GOES Report from phase 1 completed.


Microplastics and carbon are hydrophobic and will tend to float in the surface layer of oceanic water. The particles will become concentrated in the SML surface micro layer which may only be 1um to 1000um in thickness.  The SML covers 100% of the oceans and 71% of the planet.  The SML contains, omega 3 lipids from phytoplankton as well as surfactants, proteins, carbohydrates, bits of plankton and marine life as well as lipophilic toxic for ever chemicals, microplastic and black carbon.  The SML layer is critical for the survival of the oceans and has a major role in climate regulation, atmospheric water vapour pressure aerosols and cloud formation.


The concentration of pollution derived lipophilic chemicals such as PFAS, PCBs, PBDE herbicides and pesticides are 500 times higher in the surface SML layer than in comparison to the lower layers. Hydrophobic particles of plastic and carbon will concentrate the lipophilic chemicals many thousands of times. These particles become part of the food chain for marine zooplankton, protists and are also directly toxic to phytoplankton as well as cyanobacteria. Concentrations up to 1000 particles per litre of carbon soot and 10 of plastic were measured in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.


Marine plankton are the life support system for the planet and root of the food chain. Marine plankton and the SML layer regulate gas and water vapour diffusion into the atmosphere and generate aerosols for the nucleation of water vapour to form clouds. Clouds at high latitudes reflect huge amounts of energy back into space.  Rainwater everywhere now contains plastic, carbon and the toxic chemicals found in the SML. The oceans regulate up to 80% of our climate, we all depend upon them for our survival, but the oceans have been largely ignored as the primary regulator for climate.  I gave the first presentation on the Oceans at COP26


Ocean acidification, also known as the evil twin of climate change, evil because the consequences will be far more serious than climate change. Ocean acidification is the only subject that the IPCC report with 100% certainty.  Oceanic pH is dropping because of carbon dioxide dissolution through the surface layer. The oceans have also lost more than 50% of their primary productivity by plants, and dead zones called HNLC zones now cover more than 25% of the Southern Ocean and are spreading rapidly.  More than 50% of all marine life depends upon forms of carbonate such as Aragonite and Magnesium Calcite that start to dissolve at pH 8.04. The current oceanic pH is 8.03, and by the time it reaches pH7.95 by 2045, there will be massive regime shifts, and most seals, birds, whales, coral reefs, fish will be gone as well as the food supply for 3 billion people.


There are many other issues happening with nature on land and Marine life in the Oceans, the recent WWF report state that 69% of the world’s species are currently endangered and that we have already lost more than 70% of nature on land.  It is a similar situation in the oceans and the problems are accelerating.


Humanity will survive climate change, but we will not survive the destruction of nature on land and marine life in the oceans over the next 25 years, unless we act now to reverse the damage. 


Even if we achieved net zero for carbon by the end of the decade oceanic pH will still drop to pH7.95, we will still lose most marine life and we will still have catastrophic climate change. In addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, we must also reduce pollution from all sources and start to repair the damage inflicted on nature by humanity.  It isn’t sufficient to do less bad, we now must start doing some good, or we will have no future.



Dr.Howard Dryden
Goes Foundation
Roslin Innovation Centre
The University of Edinburgh
Easter Bush Campus
Midlothian EH25 9RG

Climate and Marine biodiversity

Call sign in for Copepod          ZIOC2. Zulu India Oscar Charley Two
MMSI                                                    235005663
Our mission log and location;    







Life on earth depends upon healthy Oceans, we have 10 years to stop toxic chemical pollution, or life on earth may become impossible

Dr. Howard Dryden, CSO

Goes Foundation

Roslin Innovation Centre
The University of Edinburgh
Easter Bush Campus
Midlothian EH25 9RG