Challenger 150: The Challenger Society Conference 2022

An illustration of a sail boat in a bay with smaller boats and ropes around it, there are rocks in the foreground

The Challenger at St. Paul's rocks, image is in the public domain

Conference programme

The Challenger Society Conference 2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the Challenger expedition and celebrates the birth of  international and interdisciplinary oceanography.

On 7th December 1872, the HMS Challenger departed the Royal Navy Dockyard at Sheerness on the River Medway in Kent, England, on a four-year global scientific expedition across the world’s oceans.

It was the first truly interdisciplinary grand scientific project, international in scope and involving the study of the physics, chemistry, biology and geology of the global ocean.

The UK Challenger Society and the Challenger Conferences are named after this expedition and exist to bring together UK marine scientists and international colleagues to discuss the latest science and inspire new generations of ocean researchers. 

Challenger 150 will be the opportunity to take stock of where we have come in our science, the way we do oceanography, and an opportunity to discuss, imagine and design the future of open, international, collaborative, inclusive and diverse marine science.

The conference will include plenary sessions covering the very latest research in oceanography and a wide variety of special science sessions covering the physical, biological and chemical oceanography, marine conservation and biodiversity and marine geology and geophysics.

A ship crashes through the waves with the horizon in front

A research ship crashes through waves in the Southern Ocean

  • Keynote speakers

    H.E Michael Lodge

    Michael W. Lodge is a British national. He received his LLB from the University of East Anglia, and has an MSc in marine policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a barrister of Gray’s Inn, London. Prior to his election as Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority in July 2016, he had served as Deputy to the Secretary-General and Legal Counsel. Other professional experiences include serving as Legal Counsel to the ISA (1996- 2003); Counsellor to the Round Table on Sustainable Development, OECD (2004-2007); Legal Counsel to the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (1991-1995). He has also held appointments as a Visiting Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford (2012-2013), an Associate Fellow of Chatham House, London (2007) and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Oceans (2011-2016).

    Prof Angela Hatton

    Angela Hatton is Chief Scientist and Director of Science and Technology at the National Oceanography Centre, current Chair of the UK Decade Working Group, a member of the Met Office Hadley Centre Science Review Group and a core panel member for the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships.

    Angela has been awarded two NERC Fellowships, a Challenger Fellowship and is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and the Scottish Association for Marine Science, and an honorary Professor at the University of Southampton. 

    Historically, Angela has played a number of strategic roles including as Chair of NERC Science Board, Director for Research at the Scottish Association for Marine Science, the UK’s G7: Future of the Seas and Oceans scientific lead and was a member of the Future of the Sea: Foresight Project Advisory Group. She was a member of the Ocean Acidification Programme advisory group, Challenger Society Council, Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) steering committee and the Quantifying & Understanding the Earth System (QUEST) programme integration team.

    Prof Mike Meredith

    Mike Meredith is an oceanographer and Science Leader at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in Cambridge, UK. His research focusses on ocean circulation and physical processes, and their influences on climate and the Earth System. He has strong interests in the translation of science to policy, including serving as a Coordinating Leader Author with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    Prof Nick Owens 

    Nick Owens is Director of the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS). 

    Prof Karen Heywood

    Professor of Physical Oceanography in the School of Environmental Sciences. Prof Heywood's research has investigated physical processes in our oceans that underpin climate, such as ocean currents, eddies and turbulent mixing and she has revealed new insights into the interactions between the ocean, atmosphere and cryosphere (floating ice shelves and sea ice).

    Prof Aradhna Tripati

    Professor, UCLA. Professor Tripati has been recognized for her expertise in geochemistry and paleoceanography by being elected to the California Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, Geological Society of America, European Association of Geochemistry, and Geochemical Society. She has established a world-leading laboratory in clumped isotope geochemistry. She also is the founding director of the Centre for Diverse Leadership in Science which supports 200 people working in environment, climate, and ocean science. 

    Dr John K Pinnegar

    John is a Principal Scientist and Lead Advisor on climate change at Cefas, Director of the Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Use of the Seas (CCSUS), a joint initiative between Cefas and the University of East Anglia, and also Director of the International Marine Climate Change Centre (iMC3) at Cefas.

    John was a lead author of the UN Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment report published in February 2022.

    Dr Katherine Duncan

    Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) Marine Microbial Chemical Biology, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. Dr Duncan has spent her career to date understanding marine microbial chemistry, why it is produced and what we can use it for. Dr Duncan is an advocate for inclusivity, diversity, fair representation and equal opportunity in academia.

    Dr Erika Jones

    Dr Erika Jones is Curator of Navigation and Oceanography at the National Maritime Museum, Royal Museums Greenwich and Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London. She is a historian of the Challenger Expedition (1872-1876), 19th-century science and oceanography.

    Dr Autun Purser

    Alfred Wegener Helmnolz Institute for Polar and Marine Science, Germany. Dr Purser is a deep-sea ecologist and illustrator specialising in the visual documentation of new and remarkable deep-sea and polar animals.

    Prof Alan Jamieson

    Professor Alan Jamieson is a biologist, engineer, adventurer, explorer, and author. He is the new Founding Director of the Minderoo-UWA Deep Sea Research Centre in Australia. He has worked in the deep-sea for over 20 years, and has had a significant impact on the field in this time.

    He has published over 110 scientific papers, has been involved in over 70 deep-sea expeditions, and has conducted research in every one of the world’s oceans. His work has also featured in the BBC’s Blue Planet II, and NHK’s Deep Ocean, Descent into the Mariana Trench documentaries.

    Prof Gary Carvalho

    Prof Carvalho’s research has focused on employing genetic markers to address questions in ecology and evolution. Effort is placed on demonstrating the value of molecular tools and genetic diversity as core components of environmental management and conservation of biodiversity, especially among commercially exploited species in marine and freshwaters. 

    Dr Helen Czerski

    Helen Czerski is a physicist, oceanographer, BBC presenter and Royal Institution Christmas Lecturer. Her twin passions in physics are the under-appreciated ingenuity of the everyday world and the physical engine of Earth: our atmosphere and oceans. Her own research focusses on the physics of the ocean surface, especially the bubbles formed by breaking waves.

    Prof. Paul Wilson

    Prof. Paul Wilson leads the University of Southampton’s Palaeoceanography and Palaeoclimate research group. He studies shifts in Earth’s past climate using cores taken from deep sea sediments. In pursuit of this goal, he has spent nearly 2% of his life aboard the International Ocean Discovery Program’s (IODP) drill ship, the JOIDES Resolution. Paul is not quite old enough to have sailed on its predecessor, Glomar Challenger. However, in this anniversary year, it has not escaped his attention that she was named in tribute to the heroic earlier accomplishments of HMS Challenger

    Prof. Alberto Naveira Garabato 

    Alberto Naveira Garabato is an oceanographer interested in the processes governing ocean circulation and its role in climate. His research focuses on unravelling the dynamics connecting all scales of oceanic flow - from small-scale turbulence to the basin-scale circulation - through the development and application of new approaches to measure the ocean. Alberto completed a PhD at the University of Liverpool, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of East Anglia.

    After being awarded two NERC Research Fellowships, he moved to the University of Southampton, where he is now a Professor of Physical Oceanography. Alberto is the founding director of the NEXUSS NERC / EPSRC Centre of Doctoral Training in the Smart and Autonomous Observation of the Environment, and is an Honorary Fellow of the British Antarctic Survey.

An old temperature guage against a white background

John Murray joined HMS Challenger as the expedition’s naturalist, and brought along his own temperature gauge. During the ship’s 713 days at sea, it stopped at 362 official stations. At each, Murray and his team measured the temperature of the sea water at the surface, near the bottom and often at several intermediate depths. They also collected sea water samples for chemical analysis.

Conference information

  • Call for abstracts and registration

    After registering for the conference, you will receive an email and form to submit an abstract. 

    Registration costs: 

    • Challenger member £220.00
    • Challenger non-member £270.00
    • Challenger student member £130.00
    • Student non-member £155.00
    • Developing nation registrant £155.00
  • Frequently asked questions

    Can I submit more than one abstract?

    Yes, just fill out the same abstract submission form for each abstract.

    Will my registration ticket be refunded if my abstract is not accepted?

    We have a large capacity for abstracts and do not anticipate that abstracts would not be accepted, but we reserve the right to not accept abstracts that fall outside the scope of the conference. In this scenario, you can contact to discuss further options. 

    What are the accommodation options in South Kensington, London?

    Accommodation in all price ranges can be found throughout the South Kensington area. For specially rated accommodation in Imperial College Residences please email - Please mention that you are attending the Challenger 150 conference along with your arrival and departure dates.

    I have purchased a ticket but forgot to purchase the dinner option

    Email to add your dinner ticket.

    I have purchased a ticket but not received a confirmation email with links for personal details and abstract submission

    The confirmation (welcome) emails are sent manually once the tickets are confirmed, it may take up to two working days for your confirmation email to arrive, please email if your need is urgent.

    I cant find the confirmation (welcome) email, even though it has been sent

    The emails are sent from the email please search your inbox/junk for this, if it has still not arrived email

  • Venues and accommodation


    The main venue for the meeting will be the Royal Geographical Society, a world-class conference venue with historic significance, located next to Hyde Park and just a short walk from many London attractions.

    The Ondaatje Lecture Hall seats up to 700 and will be the main venue for plenaries, plus several smaller rooms provide break-out spaces for the science sessions. This will also be the location for the majority of poster sessions and catering spaces.

    In addition, we have the use of the 200 seat Flett Theatre in the Natural History Museum and spaces in the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, which will be used for side events and science sessions.

    These venues will also be available for side events for the Challenger Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and are available on 5 and 9 September.


    The South Kensington area is home to accommodation choices to suit every budget from youth hostels to 5-star hotels, and has multiple public transport links to anywhere in the UK and world, from the London train termini and airports.

    In addition, low-cost accommodation (including twin-room share) is available at Imperial College for the duration of the conference please email to book and more details are available on the Imperial College website. Please mention the name of the conference - Challenger 150.

  • Conference banquet

    Wednesday 7 September, 2022

    The 2022 Challenger Conference dinner will be held in the spectacular surroundings of the Natural History Museum Hintze Hall, underneath ‘Hope’ the Blue Whale.

    Guests will be allowed to circulate the galleries including a new display of Challenger art and specimens in the Images of Nature gallery prior to the dinner.

    HIntze hall at the museum at a party
  • Exhibitor space and sponsorship

    This meeting is expected to attract  more than 400 international and UK-based marine scientists.

    Exhibitor space will be available at the Royal Geographical Society, Natural History Museum and Imperial College.

    Please contact if you are interested in sponsoring this conference, showcasing technology, presenting data solutions, or advertising career opportunities.

  • Organising committees

    Local Organising Committee (LOC)

    The LOC is the executive body of the Conference and reports to the Challenger Council. 

    Chair: Prof Richard Herrington, Natural History Museum

    Committee: Dr Adrian Glover (NHM), Prof Jenny Collier, Dr Yves Plancherel (Imperial College), Prof Ros Rickaby (Challenger Society and University of Oxford), Katy Payne (NHM).

    Science Programme Committee (SPC)

    The SPC is responsible for the Science Programme for the main conference 6, 7, 8 September and reports to LOC.

    Co-chairs: Prof Richard Herrington and Dr Adrian Glover, Natural History Museum

    Committee: Prof Richard Herrington, Dr Adrian Glover, Dr Steve Stukins (NHM), Dr Yves Plancherel (Imperial College), Prof Jenny Collier (Imperial College), Prof Alessandro Tagliabue (University of Liverpool), Dr Helen Czerski (UCL), Dr Judith Wolf (NOC) Dr Heather Koldewey (ZSL), Prof Rachael James (University Southampton)

  • Covid-19 policy

    As an in-person meeting, the Challenger 150 event will be held in line with the advice and policy from the UK Government and UK Health Security Agency.

    In the event that it is not safe to hold the conference, it will be cancelled. There will be a refund policy for registrations.

Sailors on board the HMS Challenger in white sailor outfits, sitting on the deck

The crew of HMS Challenger (1872-1876), on a journey funded by the British Government for scientific purposes. The expedition is believed to have been the first to carry an official photographer.

The Challenger 150 Conference 2022 is hosted by The Natural History Museum and Imperial College, London on behalf of the Challenger Society for Marine Science. The Local Organising Committee is Prof Richard Herrington, Dr Adrian Glover, Katy Payne (NHM); Prof Jenny Collier, Dr Yves Plancherel (Imperial College).

Become a member of the Challenger Society

The Challenger Society now has merchandise that can be purchased from their website. The website has T-shirts, hoodies and tote bags with the Challenger logo or the Challenger 150 logo which commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Challenger Expedition, 1872-1876

Questions? Email


International Seabed Authority 

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is an autonomous international organization established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 1994 Agreement, which was adopted to bring the regime of the deep seabed closer in line with political and economic realities. ISA is the organization through which States Parties to UNCLOS organize and control all activities related to mineral resources in the international seabed area (the Area). The Area effectively covers more than 50 per cent of the world’s oceans’ seabed. The Area and its resources are the common heritage of humankind, on behalf of which ISA acts. At the core of ISA’s mandate is the need to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects that may arise from deep-seabed related activities in the Area.

When and where?

Conference: 6 to 8 September 2022

Conference banquet: 7 September 

Side events: 5, 9 September

Hosted by the Natural History Museum and Imperial College, London, UK

The meeting will be held in person at the Royal Geographical Society, Natural History Museum and Imperial College in South Kensington, London.


The Challenger 150 Conference is now full and we are unable to accept any further registrations in advance or on the day.