August 24, 2021
After joining forces with Extreme E - the electric motorsport series designed to raise climate change awareness - as Knowledge Partner in 2020, we’re excited to announce that our first joint science research project will take place in the purpose-built science laboratory onboard the series’ floating centrepiece, the St. Helena.
Over the course of the past year, we’ve been collaborating to initiate the championship’s open call for research named “Racing for the Planet”. The call invited international scientific researchers to apply to join the ship to conduct research to advance the knowledge of the consequences of climate change and/or adaptation and mitigation strategies on the world’s oceans and the Planet.
This project, led by 24-year-old Belgian Alexander Vanhaelen, is centred around investigating changes to marine life due to climate change. Alexander will join the St Helena’s championship journey as it departs from Greenland - where the series will hold its Arctic X Prix - at the end of August (28-29). Together with another Marine Biology scientist, Adam Pantelis Galatoulas, the pair will filter seawater during St. Helena’s latest voyage to obtain DNA shed from marine organisms. By sequencing this DNA, the aim is to determine how marine life has changed across various parts of the ocean under different conditions, thus creating a global inventory of vertebrate species supporting existing data banks.
With rates of extinction and the introduction of invasive species at an all-time high, this type of research and the knowledge it will provide are critical to understanding the behaviour of marine communities to inform effective ecological management and conservation biology. The team’s findings will be published in an international scientific journal and are planned to be orally communicated at scientific meetings dedicated to marine biodiversity. Enel Foundation will support the development of the project by contributing to the relevant research and dissemination activities.
Alejandro Agag, CEO and Founder of Extreme E, said: “We are grateful to our Scientific Partners at the Enel Foundation for their contribution to our science and legacy ventures and are proud to have our first research initiative confirmed. It’s incredible that we will get to use our ship for this purpose, so our huge thanks for helping us realise this dream.”
In October 2021 the Italian region of Sardinia will host the fourth event of its opening season, the Island X Prix. The move to the Italian island follows the series’ decision to postpone its originally planned events in Brazil and Argentina due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation in Latin America.