Welcome to the Western Channel Observatory Website
What is the Western Channel Observatory?
The Western Channel Observatory (WCO) is an oceanographic time-series and marine biodiversity reference site in the Western English Channel. In situ measurements are undertaken weekly at coastal station L4 and fortnightly at open shelf station E1 using the research vessels of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the Marine Biological Association. These measurements are complemented by PML's recognised excellence in ecosystem modelling and satellite remote sensing science. By integrating these different observational disciplines we can begin to disentangle the complexity of the marine ecosystem.
From photons to fish, from seconds to centuries ...
The WCO measures several key parameters important to the functioning of the marine ecosystem such as light, temperature, salinity and nutrients. Station L4 has some of the longest time-series in the world for zooplankton and phytoplankton, and fish trawls have been made by the MBA for a century. Station E1 has a hydrographic series dating from 1903. These long series are complemented by hourly measurements made at our moorings situated at both stations. These can elucidate changes not captured by the routine weekly sampling.Learn more