The ECORD Science Operator (ESO) is a consortium of European scientific institutions formed to undertake mission-specific platform (MSP) expeditions for ECORD on behalf of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (2003-2013) and the International Ocean Discovery Program launched in October 2013. ESO comprises the British Geological Survey (BGS), the MARUM, University of Bremen and the European Petrophysics Consortium (EPC). BGS acts as consortium coordinator responsible for overall ESO management under a contract from EMA as designated by the ECORD Council. The EPC is contracted to carry out logging and petrophysical activities. The University of Bremen is contracted to carry out curation and data management tasks.




To date, ESO has completed six MSP operations. The current MSP expedition, Chicxulub K-Pg Impact Crater expedition, will end when the Onshore Science Party is completed at the Bremen Core Repository at the MARUM, Germany. ESO is preparing two MSP expeditions to the polar regions in 2017-2018 (see above MSP schedule).


ESO Tasks

  • As an Implementing Organization for MSPs, ESO has the task of operational and scientific planning; engineering development, platform and equipment procurement; contracting; essential training of personnel; safety surveys; data management; core curation; onshore science parties (OSP); publications; outreach and other related pre-, intra- and post-operational activities.
  • ESO also undertakes the staffing of MSP science parties in consultation with USSSP, J-DESC and ESSAC.
  • It is ESO’s responsibility to ensure that MSPs comply with international and national regulations and obligations.
  • ESO provides facilities and staff to ensure the maintenance of capability in science operations for ECORD on a year-by-year basis.

This page will provide information about ESO people involved in mission-specific platform expeditions.

ESO Science Manager – Dave McInroy

David McInroy has been the ESO Science Manager since April 2010, and is responsible for the detailed planning of operations and activities for mission-specific platforms. David joined ESO in 2003, and was Staff Scientist for IODP Expeditions 302 (Arctic), 310 (Tahiti) and 313 (New Jersey). David joined the BGS in 2001 as a hydrocarbon geoscientist, and works on various BGS projects concentrating on the NW European Margin, in particular the regional seismic interpretation, mapping, and analysis of the Hatton-Rockall and Faroe-Shetland Basins. David gained his M.Sc. in Geophysics from the University of Durham in 2000, after which he worked as a Processing Geophysicist for Compagnie Generale de Geophysique (CGG) in London.

ESO Curation & Laboratory Manager – Ursula Röhl

Ursula Röhl has worked in marine geology since earning her PhD in 1988; beginning her career at the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) including the German ODP office, then continuing at Purdue University, Indiana, USA, and working since 1995 at the University of Bremen. She has held the position of Curation & Laboratory Manager for ESO since before the initiation of IODP in October 2003, and has been involved in nine expeditions of the predecessor program, the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP). She sailed on six ODP/IODP Legs/Expeditions in various capacities, including stratigraphic correlator, physical properties specialist and inorganic geochemist. Her research interests are in the areas of climatic evolution of Cenozoic oceans, cyclostratigraphy of early Paleogene records, and non-destructive core logging/scanning methods. She is the manager of both the IODP Bremen Core Repository (BCR) and of the XRF Core Scanner Lab at MARUM. Ursula especially enjoys working in international teams in her work related both to IODP research and management.

ESO European Petrophysics Consortium Manager – Sarah Davies

Sarah Davies is a clastic sedimentologist with key research interests in unravelling the influence of tectonic, climatic and eustatic controls on the development of sedimentary systems. She gained her PhD in 1993, from the University of Leicester, completed postdoctoral research at the University of Liverpool which was followed by a period as a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. Sarah joined the department at Leicester in June 1999 and is currently a full-time Senior Lecturer in Sedimentology. Her current research focuses on the sedimentology, geochemistry and petrophysics of fine-grained successions and the climatic and sea-level controls on depositional systems. She became the manager of the European Petrophysics Consortium (EPC) in October 2007. Leicester is a lead member of EPC (which involves Leicester, Aachen and Montpellier). EPC is responsible for the acquisition and scientific interpretation of core and borehole measurements and the development of associated research programmes. The team advises the Expedition Science Party on logging, pre-expedition planning, shipboard acquisition and data distribution, post-expedition reporting and the scientific analysis and interpretation of the petrophysical data.

ESO Outreach Manager – Alan Stevenson

Alan Stevenson joined the ESO team as Outreach Manager in November 2005. He has been with BGS since graduating in 1978 and started working on marine projects in 1986. In recent years he has been involved in several international projects funded by the EC. Alan has always had an interest in making science available to the public and working within IODP has been an opportunity to develop this area of interest. Alan says ‘the education and outreach teams in Europe, the USA and Japan work closely to share and disseminate information about the Program. Working closely with the outreach specialists in the team to promote the work of IODP and the mission-specific platforms in particular has been a rewarding experience. I like to think that my marine science background has helped’.

Frequently Asked Questions


The ECORD Science Operator is a consortium of European science institutions formed to undertake mission-specific platform operations (MSPs) for the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD) on behalf of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP).


The IODP carries out an international marine drilling programme through multiple platforms – a feature unique to the program. Whereas the US and Japanese ships, JOIDES Resolution and Chikyu, are dedicated drilling vessels fitted out with permanent drilling, laboratory and offshore core repository facilities, MSPs are platforms especially chosen to fulfil particular scientific objectives. In most cases this requires modifications to the most appropriate platform (which may be a ship, drilling rig, etc).


Six MSP expeditions have been completed: the Arctic Coring, Tahiti Sea Level, New Jersey Shallow Shelf, Great Barrier Reef Environmental Changes, Baltic Sea Paleoenvironment, Atlantis Massif Serpentinization and Life. A seventh MSP expedition to the Chicxulub K-Pg Impact Crater is currently underway: the offshore phase was completed in May 2016 and the expedition Onshore Science Party will take place at the Bremen Core Repository on 22 September 2016.


Guidelines for proposal submission are online at Proposals are invited twice a year, in April and October. These are evaluated by IODP panels and subsequently full proposals are developed.


Scientists interested in participating in an MSP expedition, or any IODP expedition, may apply through their respective programme office. Scientists based in ECORD member countries should submit their applications through the ECORD Science Support Advisory Committee (ESSAC).


The ESO Core Repository is located at Bremen University. Data from the MSP expeditions can be accessed through the MSP Data Portal. Online request forms are also available at the the IODP website.


ESO Chair: Robert Gatliff – BGS-Edinburgh
Robert Gatcliff

Science Manager: David McInroy – BGS-Edinburgh
David McInroy

Operations Manager: Dave Smith -BGS-Edinburgh
Dave Smith

Laboratory and Curation Manager: Ursula Röhl – University of Bremen

EPC: Sarah Davies – University of Leicester

Expedition Project Manager: Claire Mellett – BGS-Edinburgh
Claire Mellett

Data Management: Hans-Joachim Wallrabe-Adams – MARUM-Bremen

Outreach Manager: Alan Stevenson – BGS-Edinburgh
Alan Stevenson

To date, ESO has completed six scientific expeditions of mission-specific platforms (MSPs). Four expeditions in the first phase of IODP (2003 to 2012), which are the Arctic Coring Expedition (ACEX), the Tahiti Sea-Level Expedition, the New Jersey Shallow Shelf Expedition and the Great Barrier Reef Environmental Changes Expedition. Three expeditions in the second phase of IODP (2013-2023), which are the Baltic Sea Paleoenvironment Expedition, the Atlantis Massif Serpentinization and Life Expedition.

The offshore phase of the current MSP expedition, Chicxulub K-Pg Impact Crater expedition, has been completed on 31 May 2016 in Progreso, Mexico. The expedition will end when the Onshore Science Party is completed at the Bremen Core Repository at the MARUM, Germany. ESO is preparing two MSP expeditions to the polar regions in the Antarctica and the Arctic in 2018.

MSP Schedule