UK ocean scientists at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton have been helping Google develop its new Ocean in Google Earth project. In addition to supplying data, images, footage and information about the seas and oceans around Europe, for the ‘Ocean' layer, the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton will provide blogs and film from ocean researchers working around the world.
Some 400 million people now can access this research as it takes place.
Professor Ed Hill, director of NOCS said: "We are really excited about our collaboration with Google's Ocean project. We hope that now people can gain access so easily to the work of our scientists working in these remote locations, it will increase awareness of the issues facing the marine environment.
"The oceans cover two thirds of our planet yet we still know so little about this underwater world. People will discover all sorts of fantastic things on Google Ocean but what is not there is almost as important as what is there. Understanding the ocean's role in climate change is the biggest challenge facing us in the coming years. We need to reach out to everyone - to raise the concerns - to answer the questions - to add to our global understanding of a world that is remote and largely undiscovered. The oceans are a fantastic way to communicate science. They have an endless ability to inspire not only researchers but people of all ages.
"The work of our scientists in the Southern Ocean is a fantastic example. They are looking for hydrothermal vents - plumes of superheated hot water - from volcanic activity under the ocean floor. The animals that live at these Southern Ocean vents have never been seen or studied before. The Classroom@Sea website will allow us to follow their progress."
NOCS will be adding more material to Ocean in Google Earth over the coming months.