FAQ

Who is responsible for VIRTUE?
VIRTUE is run by the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences  at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden).  
In the US, the Maryland Sea Grant College (MDSG) at the University of Maryland runs a counterpart resource known as Biofilms and Biodiversity Project (BBP).

Does it cost anything to be part of VIRTUE?
No, VIRTUE is free of charge. Anyone can register and create a VIRTUE account. All registered Swedish teachers can order "VIRTUE rack" kits free of charge. 

I am not a Swedish teacher - how can I get VIRTUE racks or supplies?
Schools outside Sweden can send a request to the VIRTUE Team - we can provide you with information about where to buy the components. Here is a guide with a list of necessary components. In the future, we hope to establish VIRTUE hubs in our partner countries. The goal will be for VIRTUE hubs will then (hopefully) to provide teachers in their country with VIRTUE kits free of charge.

When must I deploy the VIRTUE rack(s)?
You can deploy the racks at any time, but the most suitable time is spring. We suggest you deploy the rack(s) during April or May and then let them remain in the water until September. But it also depends on regional differences. Making observations of the rack(s) along the way is always a good idea.

Read more in the brochure "What's growing on the disc?"

How long does it take before I can see any fouling organisms?
It depends where and when you have deployed the rack. In Scandinavia, during the period June - September, there is plenty of larvae in the water, "waiting" for free surfaces - like a VIRTUE disc! Fouling is quite rapid and you can detect changes every week. Also, bacteria and algal species will begin to colonize the surface almost immediately. 
(<LINK> will be added later to the teacher resource on colonization succession).

During the winter months, you can expect very little new growth of larger organisms in the sea. During this time, mostly bacteria and diatoms will establish on a VIRTUE disc.

Read more in the brochure "What's growing on the disc?"

Did you know that ...
You can leave the VIRTUE racks in the sea (or a lake) during the winter. Our VIRTUE discs are durable and can withstand ice. These discs shall be reúsed, after cleaning. However, it is safest to replace the rope with 2-3 mm stainless steel wire + wire lock. Boat shops have such items for sale. Read more here.