This website is a legacy of the Explore the Seafloor, an exciting project that let everyone investigate the results of the latest seafloor research.


REC MapWhat is Explore the Seafloor?

Explore the Seafloor was launched in 2010 as an educational community progamme for promoting the results of four Regional Environmental Characterisations (REC) surveys. The RECs use the most recent technology to investigate the ecology, geology and archaeology of the seafloor in areas commonly targeted for marine aggregates – namely the South Coast, East Coast, Humber and Thames regions. You can find out more by visiting our REC webpages.


Who funded the project?

These studies were funded by Marine Environment Protection Fund via the Marine Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund (MALSF) to deliver valuable scientific information in order to ensure successful and sustainable management of the marine environment.

The main aim of the Marine ALSF programme is to promote environmentally friendly marine aggregate extraction in England or English waters.

Public awareness and education is a key element of MALSF’s remit. As a result MALSF funded this project. Explore the Seafloor aims to provide information on marine environmental science to a wide-ranging audience through a community and education programme, supported by the Explore the Seafloor website.


The roadshow was hosted by SEA LIFE Centres across the country
Who was involved in the project?

The centrepiece of the project was the seven roadshows hosted by SEA LIFE Centres, which was a perfect venue for getting the Explore the Seafloor message to a wide audience.

The project was undertaken by Wessex Archaeology (WA), with collaboration from a consortium of partners involved in the REC research. The members of the consortium are:

  • Marine Ecology Services Limited (MESL);
  • British Geological Survey (BGS);
  • Envision Mapping Ltd;
  • Emu Limited; University of Southampton;
  • Sussex Sea Fisheries Committee (SSFC);
  • Cefas;
  • Gardline Environmental and
  • VISTA (University of Birmingham).

The Explore the Seafloor team, working on behalf of the MEPF, is committed to making seafloor research accessible to a wide  audience whilst maintaining its technical integrity. The results of the RECs are presented in the context of sustainable marine management, engaging the people in informed debate about how we should best live with the sea and its resources.







Who are Wessex Archaeology?

Wessex Archaeology (WA) is an educational charity whose objective is ‘to promote the education of the public in the subjects of arts, culture, heritage and science’. It has 30 years experience of bringing archaeology to the public and 15 years experience of coastal and marine investigation.

The project was led by the Learning and Access team for Wessex Archaeology’s Coastal and Marine department.  Their outreach projects include a hands-on workshop programme called Time Travelling by Water.

Explore the Seafloor builds on elements of this project, in particular hands-on interactive learning and online teaching resources. Visit the Time Travelling By Water website to find more marine archaeology themed educational resources.

WA also works closely with the marine aggregate industry through the BMAPA Protocol for unexpected archaeological discoveries and the Industry Awareness Programme. WA has a thorough understanding of the achievements of the RECs and of the opportunities for wide dissemination that they present, based on its involvement in the South Coast and East Coast RECs and its interest in the Outer Thames and Humber RECs, through working on the respective Regional Environmental Assessments (REA).

The team enjoyed working on the project and hope you have fun exploring our website.