Darwin and the Adventure


Two hundred years after Charles Darwin’s birth, The HMS Beagle Project coordinated a major collaborative celebration of the scientist’s life and work in Paraty, Brazil.

Supported by a British Council Darwin Now Network grant, marine research scientists from South America, the USA and the UK collaborated with representatives from the HMS Beagle Project and NASA as well as 60 local schoolchildren, to participate in a scientific workshop and two scientific voyages aboard a sailing vessel.


  • to celebrate the life and work of Charles Darwin
  • to set Darwin’s work in the context of the international activities of the Census of Marine Life and the Consortium for the Barcode of Life
  • to initiate a network of young scientists in South America to further research in biodiversity, evolution and systematics
  • to explore how tall ships can support contemporary science research
  • to run two half-day voyages in coastal waters on a Brazilian tall ship, in coordination with the International Space Station (ISS) as it passed over the region.


The National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS); Tocorimé Pamatojari; Universidad Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Macae, RJ, Brasil; Universidad Simon Bolivar, Caracas, Venezuela; Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Mar del Plata, Argentina; Universidad de Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, Chile; Universidad do Valo do Itaja, Santa Caterina, Brasil; Universidad de Concepcion, Chile; The Municipal District of Paraty; The Paraty Convention and Visitors’ Bureau; Duke University Marine Laboratory; The National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Key outcomes:

  • A new network of young scientists in South America, the UK and USA was created in the areas of marine biodiversity and evolutionary science. Most of the scientists in South America are post-doctoral researchers and lecturers at the start of their careers.
  • Contributions to the growing literature on Science and Sail. There is a place for sailing vessels in oceanography, but good data can be gained only by careful planning and a realistic approach as to what is possible. A major step forward may be taken by integrating satellite observations with ocean sampling.

Download the Darwin and the Adventure project report.