October 7, 2021
The St. Helena has recently moored in Sardinia, Italy, getting ready for the Island X Prix (October 23-24). This outing will mark the first European destination of the championship and it will take place at Capo Teulada in Sulcis-Iglesiente, an historic area in the south-west of Sardinia.
The St. Helena is Extreme E’s floating centerpiece and, following the Arctic X Prix, it left Greenland to move towards Italy, withstanding navigation difficulties in its path due to Hurricane Larry. The crew of the ship is currently unloading all of the freight on board to prepare for the Island X Prix, that will take place in three weeks’ time.
Alejandro Agag, CEO and Founder of Extreme E, said: “It’s fantastic to see the St. Helena in port and ready to unload ahead of the Island X Prix. Sardinia is going to provide an epic backdrop for both fantastic racing and important legacy opportunities focused around both green and blue carbon stores. I’m particularly excited that the arrival into Sardinia completes the St. Helena’s first science research studies thanks to the support of our Founding Scientific Partner, Enel Foundation.”
On board of the centerpiece, Alexander Vanhaelen and Adam Pantelis Galatoulas, the pair of scientists that are leading the research project in collaboration with Enel Foundation, have been collecting seawater at various stages of the day (and night) while using the ship’s purpose-built science laboratory. “The aim of my enquiry is to biomonitor species of the northwestern Atlantic using eDNA metabarcoding” comments Alexander. “Metabarcoding is a quite new and innovative technique where we do plant and animal identification using a single small fragment of DNA.”
This eDNA is collected from the ocean during the ship’s Atlantic crossing, and captured in filters that are stored for later extraction. The eventual findings from this research can help scientists with early detection of invasive species in oceans which can aid efforts for conservation and restoration of marine environments.
We started already taking water samples when we left Greenland and will continue to do so in particular stations all the way to Sardinia.