General Ocean Survey and Sampling Iterative Protocol (GOSSIP)
From remotely operated vehicles to seabed mapping systems, from DNA sequencing libraries of marine life to ocean sensors, technological developments are unlocking extraordinary new research that can accelerate ocean conservation.
Until now, there has been no standardised multi-disciplinary approach for understanding the patterns of marine life across the world. With scientists using different sampling techniques to address different research themes, it has been difficult or impossible for them to accurately compare life and environments from place to place. This has hampered scientific productivity, especially when trying to ask large scale questions and providing actionable data to inform decisions on ocean management.
The GOSSIP protocol (the General Ocean Survey & Sampling Iterative Protocol) creates a new structured approach, setting down a list of ocean variables (for example, ocean floor composition, dissolved oxygen, chemical pollutants), why they are important, sampling methods, processing methods and other requirements. It provides a standardised framework for measuring the factors that can shape the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life. Developed by 16 leading marine scientists and building on existing research standards, it is designed to be used by all disciplines – in ocean chemistry, geophysics, biology, ecology – so that the information they measure and record about marine life and their habitats is easily comparable from project to project, from area to area.
We have developed a technical guide, which provides best practices for each GOSSIP parameter including but not limited to field sampling, data collection, analysis and storage. Iterative in name and by design, this is a living document and updated regularly to reflect the latest technological advances and research trends.