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The Robert & MeiLi Hefner Foundation Sponsored an All-Female Crew of Rowers, Team Ithaca, of the Great Britain Row Challenge

March 20, 2024
By Metra Taleghanifard

GB Row - map of sea surface temperature differences 2022 vs 2023-for webFirst report on data collected by record-breaking rowers shows Great Britain’s warming seas

This is one of Robert and MeiLi Hefner's passionate interests, researching the earth's environment and global ecosystem. Over several years, Robert and MeiLi Hefner have funded this project through The University of Portsmouth in collaboration with GB Row for ocean data surveyance. Team Ithaca, an all-female crew, undertook the treacherous 2,000-mile row of Britain’s coastline to collect data of the ocean’s rising temperatures over the past few years, due to plastic pollutants. Although slight, the impact of the rising temperatures indicates a more serious concern for marine ecosystems and life. On average scientists at the university have found the United Kingdom coastal seas to be 0.39 degrees Celsius warmer in 2023 compared to 2022.

“Satellites only measure the temperature at the very surface of the oceans, therefore, it is unclear how this intense heating penetrates the ocean interior, possibly affecting deeper ecosystems. The data collected by GB Row Challenge confirms that this heating reached at least 75 cm of depth.” - Laura Fantuzzi, a University of Portsmouth PhD.

Read the full report