EUROFLEETS+ Floating University “Multiple platforms to measure the ocean”


EUROFLEETS+ Floating University

“Multiple platforms to measure the ocean”

RV G. Dallaporta

Mazara del Vallo -Sicily, Italy, 17-23 September, 2022


The EurofleetsPlus “Floating University”

Eurofleets+ is a unique consortium of research vessels, equipment and scientists supported by 42 marine institutes, universities, foundations and SMEs from 24 countries around the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. A key objective of Eurofleets+ is the delivery of five Floating Universities for early-stage researchers of marine related sciences. Floating Universities will address a range of themes and topics and focus on the applications and operation of research vessel data acquisition and sampling systems and equipment. 

General course objectives



This Floating University, designed in collaboration with Euro-ARGO ERIC, will take place on the R/V G. Dallaporta in the harbour of Mazara del Vallo (in the province of Trapani, Italy) and on the South-Western coast of Sicily. The general objective of the course is to provide theoretical background and practical experience in conducting instrumental measurements of seawater physical and chemical properties, using Conductivity Temperature and Depth (CTD) probes, Niskin bottles for water samples collection, salinometers, and (depending on weather conditions) moored instruments that will be deployed near the coast as a test to learn the setup of instruments such as Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) and Microcat probes. This test mooring will then be recovered to learn how to retrieve the collected data. The course will also provide theoretical background on inherent (IOPs) and apparent (AOPs) optical properties in marine waters and how to use these measurements to observe the biology of the ocean and study the ocean carbon pump. The students will have the chance to familiarise themselves with measurement and management of IOPs and AOPs acquired by autonomous robotic platforms, with a focus on Biogeochemical-Argo floats ( Synergies between BGC-Argo data measurements and other platforms including satellite Ocean Colour will be explored. During offshore activities, students will be trained on testing, deployment and recovery of Argo floats. Offshore training will be supported/integrated/preceded by lectures, and online resources.


Learning objectives

The overarching objective of the training programme is knowledge transfer in state-of-the-art oceanographic surveying from key personnel to an emerging cohort of marine scientists and researchers. On completion, participants of this floating university will be able to:

  • Demonstrate competence in designing and executing an offshore oceanographic survey
  • Articulate understanding of the principles and methods applied to seawater measuring with a variety of techniques
  • Practice data acquisition and preliminary data processing for CTD and ADCP systems

Practice data acquisition and scientific exploitation of IOPs and AOPs acquired with autonomous robotic platforms

  • Demonstrate knowledge on moored systems deployment, recovery and data retrieval
  • Demonstrate knowledge on autonomous platform testing, deployment, recovery and data management (from quality control to data distribution and acquisition)
  • Complement observations of a variety of variables from multiple platforms
  • Perform salinity measurements on seawater samples
  • Operate software suites for data visualisations (Ocean Data View)
  • Recognise the interpersonal skills for professional conduct on board research vessels.
  • More effectively compete for studentships, research opportunities and employment in the Blue Economy

Course content

This Floating University will take place in Mazara del Vallo on the South-Western coast of Sicily (Italy) from the 17th to the 23th of September 2022

Before joining the vessel, students will attend a 3 days training on the survey area, data acquisition systems, datasets and analysis of seawater samples and autonomous measurements. Survey planning for water mass mapping, site exploration and environmental status will also be part d of the training. A final day of training and concluding activities is foreseen at the end of the onboard activities.

A three days offshore training will follow aboard the RV “G. Dallaporta”, with students embarking and disembarking each day at 08:30 and 17:30 at the quays in Mazara del Vallo Harbour. 

Day 1 of on board activities of the Floating University will concentrate on interactive demonstrations of:

  • Preparation and deployment of a test-mooring near the coast, that will then collect data for the following two days and will be recovered on day 3
  • CTD casts (how to: operational and PC-based) in combination with seawater samples collection with a Rosette system
  • Sample analysis for salinity n, and comparison with the data collected by the automatic probe for calibration purposes

Day 2 will be devoted to ARGO floats: 

  • Preparation, testing, deployment and recovery of an Argo float
  • Comparison with CTD cast
  • Data processing and visualisation

Day 3 on board will be devoted to the recovery of the test-mooring and the retrieval and visualisation of the collected data.

Calibration of echosounders with sound velocity probes

On the last day onshore students will be presented with the opportunity to practise their new skills with a team exercise based on the design and implementation of an oceanographic survey.

Screening, exploration and analysis of the survey data will also take place on this last day with the aim of producing a preliminary picture of the oceanographic characteristics of the survey area.  The programme will finish on the afternoon of day seven with presentations by the students of their data and findings.

Time plan

The course will be from the 17th to 23th September 2022

Participants are expected to arrive on the 16th of September in Mazara del Vallo, Italy.






Introductory lecture, pre-cruise planning



Instrumentation Orientation


RV G. Dallaporta


Offshore training

RV G. Dallaporta


Offshore training

RV G. Dallaporta


Offshore training

RV G. Dallaporta



Screening, analysis and visualisation of the survey data will take place on days six and seven with the aim of producing a detailed model of the survey area. 



Poster presentations by the students of their data and findings.




Instruction on this EUROFLEETS+ Floating University will be from expert practitioners from the Institute of Marine Science of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR), Italy with guest lecturers from the EURO-ARGO ERIC and others TBC. 



A total of 8 positions are available for post-graduate students of all nationalities enrolled at European universities, and the selection will be based on the information provided in the application form.

Online application form available to access at

Applications must be received by 12/07/2022

Successful applicants will be notified by 26/07/2022

At the end of the course a certificate of completion will be delivered to all participants. This will include a module descriptor of the course.

No special certification is required to apply.

Costs and travel grants

The course is funded by EU H2020 project Eurofleets+

The course is free of charge, but participants need to pay for their own travel expenses including accommodation and food.

Mazara del Vallo is easily accessible through Palermo Airport.

A partial travel reimbursement up to a maximum of €400 is available after application. The support will be given on submission of proof of expenditure by each individual. Reimbursement claims should be made to


  • Course organizer Institution: National Research Council of Italy, CNR,
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