THE tall ship Pelican of London is due to arrive at Poole Harbour this afternoon as part of a 13-week scientific voyage of discovery around the UK.

Ninety volunteers have been lucky enough to secure places on the sail training ship, which will split its circumnavigation of the country into three legs.

On board for each leg of the voyage will also be four young scientists, a science coordinator and two researchers.

These young scientists will be creating live maps and interactive projects.

Organised by Hamworthy-based explorer Stewart McPherson, the expedition is in its second year.

Stewart said: "This year, the team of young scientists and professional researchers will undertake systematic studies of plastics in UK waters – surveying for floating macro plastics, suspended micro plastic particles and beach transects for plastic waste washed ashore.

"Other focus areas include a marine macro-fauna survey around the UK – recording key information on whales, dolphins, bluefin tuna, sunfish and basking sharks – as well as a UK-wide seabird survey."

The ship is due to arrive at 2.30pm today.

11-storey block of flats set for approval in Poole

The UK circumnavigation is a pre-cursor to the wider Darwin200 voyage, a planned two-year undertaking which will see 200 top young conservationists, each from a different country or state in the world, complete an around the globe adventure on the Pelican.

Stewart said: "The Darwin200 team sincerely thanks all of our partners for making the 2020 and 2021 research voyages possible, especially the Don Hanson Charitable Foundation, the Avangrid Foundation, City2Sea, Jarvis Homes, IMC and Creditforce."

Stewart has written more than 35 natural history books and presented a number of wildlife television documentaries.

He leads dozens of expeditions across the world each year and has discovered 35 new species.

He co-founded Darwin200 and is leading this global venture.

His past projects include organising the donation of conservation resources and books to tens of thousands of schools, libraries and universities.