Explorer for Citizen Science
Dr. med. Monika Puskeppeleit MPH
Dr. Puskeppeleit, why did you get involved in the founding of Citizen Science Cruises?
I believe education is the key to peace and prosperity. We are all facing an absolutely necessary social transformation. Consumerism and a sole focus on economic growth are a one-way street. This also applies to the travel sector. Our mission is to enable citizens to contribute to research on expeditions.
Dr. Puskeppeleit, what fascinates you most about the polar regions?
The results of our research familiarises society with the fascination and uniqueness of the poles, and to their vulnerability. The North Pole and South Pole are not just unique natural assets that should be spared of the mining of raw materials or rare earth metals. The 15th UN Conference on Endangered Species (COP 15) in Montreal in December 2022, chaired by China, decided for the first time to place large areas of the polar seas and oceans under protection. 196 contracting states have adopted a convention on the biological diversity of the earth.
Dr. Puskeppeleit, are Citizen Science Cruises sustainable?
Environmentally benign tourism is sustainable. Our research ship will be equipped with the latest eco-friendly propulsion technology such as LNG and fuel cells. Creating awareness of the fragility of our environment through citizen science is sustainable.
Dr. Puskeppeleit, how can I become a Citizen Scientist?
Anyone can become a citizen scientist. Exciting citizen research means making citizens as research equals. Our Citizen Scientists support research on board throughout their sea voyage. 10% of the cost of the cruise goes into the research pot, so that research independent of the university is also made possible. So why not book a citizen science cruise and come on board?
Scientific Underwater Archaeologist
Dr. Florian Huber
Mr Huber, what are your main research interests?
I am an underwater archaeologist and research diver and I am most interested in shipwrecks of any period. No matter whether it's a Stone Age dugout or ships from the First or Second World War. With my company Submaris, I also regularly work on marine biology projects. For example, we search for and recover ghost nets on behalf of the WWF, plant seagrass meadows in the Baltic Sea in cooperation with GEOMAR or document the algae and lobster populations off Helgoland. I also attach great importance to popular science work, which is why I regularly appear in front of the camera for the TV programme Terra X, write books for children and adults and give multivision lectures.
Mr Huber, do you already have experience with involving Citizen Scientists in your research?
I have been giving underwater archaeology courses for the Association of German Sports Divers (VDST e.V.) for over 10 years to train divers in the correct way to deal with our cultural heritage underwater. The advanced course UWA II then involves scientifically documenting an object under water and presenting it in a small final report. In these courses, my participants have documented, for example, a crashed British Lancaster bomber in the Bavarian Walchensee or a German small submarine of the type Molch off Trieste.
Mr Huber, what research project would you like to carry out during Citizen Science cruises?
I can very well imagine documenting various shipwrecks of different periods in order to bring their history back to the light of day. With an estimated three million shipwrecks worldwide, we should have plenty to do.
Mr Huber, which are the most interesting underwater archaeological destinations?
That is certainly in the eye of the beholder and depends on his or her historical interests. For me, the Baltic Sea with its exceptionally good preservation conditions is very interesting. But of course the Mediterranean or the Caribbean are also hotspots for underwater archaeologists. Personally, I also find the Pacific very exciting. The beautiful and attractive thing about underwater archaeology is that we actually find traces of our past everywhere in the water. Whether in our oceans, rivers, lakes or flooded cave systems. There is still an infinite amount to discover.
Researcher, Shipowner and Testimonials
Brand ambassador Jan Bryde
Mr. Bryde, why do you support Citizen Science Cruises?
Travellers no longer just want to be consumers. The trend now is towards more sensible travel models. I think travelling can make the world a better place.
Mr. Bryde, tell us something about the planned research vessel
The initial plan was to purchase an already existing research vessel such as the MS Walter Herwig III. However, we found that the available research ships are just too small in terms of passenger capacity. We want to cater for more than 25 citizen scientists being able to carry out their research on board.
Mr. Bryde, what is your favourite destination?
Once you get to know Antarctica, that's the only place it can be. I love both the Earth's poles, but Antarctica is much more impressive when it comes to the animal life.
Mr. Bryde, can one still experience adventure while travelling?
Of course. Citizen Science Cruises targets the niche of real expeditions by conducting research voyages. And these are real expeditions with destinations defined by research projects. A cruise involving excursions with inflatables, as offered by many established tour operators, cannot be considered as a real expedition.
Shipowner Dr. med Markus Wilhelm
Markus Wilhelm is an anaesthesiologist and was one of the first shipowners. He works in the interdisciplinary emergency room of the Erding County Hospital. We asked him the following four questions:
Dr. Wilhelm, why are you a shipowner with Citizen Science Cruises?
I am convinced of the concept of offering research voyages to scientific laypeople. In particular, the MOSAIC expedition, during which the research vessel MS Polarstern became icelocked in the Arctic, has brought the topic of research vessels more into the focus of our society. Many dream of being able to charter a research vessel. Doing research voluntarily, i.e. being active yourself or just watching the researchers. is just a great feeling.
Dr. Wilhelm, when do you go on board?
As a shipowner, I get the benefit of using the shipowner's cabin once a year. I will announce myself as soon as the new ship construction is complete. As shipowners, we also meet regularly and discuss the research on board and the various areas of application. We are a diverse community. The right to use the owner's cabin is the return on the shares I invest in Citizen Science Cruises. But this is not the only advantage.
Dr. Wilhelm, what specific benefits are you referring to?
Free cabins are distributed to the shipowners free-of-charge and there is a 50% discount on shore excursions. But regardless of one's own advantages, we are talking about a cross generational divestment. That means my investment and thus its return will be passed on to the next generation.
Dr. Wilhelm, what does divestment mean?
In April 2015, around 100 doctors called on the Berlin Medical Care organisation to divest. This is where the word divestment originated. For example, shares in companies that generate more than 25 percent of their sales from coal-fired power generation were excluded from the capital investment. Citizen Science Cruises joined the divestment initiative. Through the research results, we actively contribute to raising public awareness of sustainable action, sustainable investments, and sustainable travel.
Explorer for Citizen Science
Lecturer Prof. Olaf Schedler
Mr Schedler, why do you support Citizen Science cruises?
Citizen Science ideally combines the cause of a trip. New expeditions combined with the goal of giving all participants a task related to research and science in order to generate added value for people and nature. There is nothing more exciting than applied research.
Mr Schedler, what do you lecture about on Citizen Science research vessel?
The focus is on the physiological and chronobiological relationships of people in unusual and extreme environmental conditions and their acclimatisation and adaptation processes. Especially in diving medicine and the physiological processes in weightlessness, a lot is still unexplored.
Mr Schedler, what are you researching on board?
We are investigating the vestibular function in connection with seasickness and the influence of the biorhythm on board on somatic neurophysiological parameters. We need volunteer citizen scientists in order to obtain sufficient data for statistically relevant research results through a correspondingly large number of pobands.
Mr Schedler, what other research projects are planned?
Since Citizen Science brings with it a variety of research questions, one example is the influence of ship voyages on microcirculation through climatic factors such as temperature, air pressure and water vapour saturation.