October 1, 1999-September 30, 2005
Level of Access
This research project is conducted under the auspices of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP). Partners include the Univ. of Maine, Univ. of Washington, several commercial instrument manufacturers, and two local government agencies. The project addresses an ocean sciences requirement for new ocean observational capabilities for continuous, high-resolution measurements of oceanic processes that include characterization of distributions, mechanisms, and rates of processes involving chemical and biological variables together with physical variables in the ocean. The overall objective is to add new capabilities to a small (1.8 m, 52 kg) autonomous underwater glider that moves horizontally and vertically using variable buoyancy control and wings. It can perform hundreds of cycles per launch from surface to 2,000 m or less, report data back (including GPS location) in real time upon each surfacing, and be reprogrammed from shore. New sensors will be developed and integrated into the system for dissolved oxygen and various inherent optical properties of seawater, all measured at the same time and space scales as physical properties. The project encompasses development of new sensors, miniaturization of several extant sensors and extensive field tests. The research team includes industrial partners, local governments working on practical societal/scientific issues; biological, physical and optical oceanographers; and an education effort from 8th grade through graduate school.
The specific goals of this project are:
• to extend development of an autonomous, underwater glider to be capable of measuring biological, optical, physical and chemical variables on the same time and space sales, in real time, and in diverse environments;
• to develop small, light-weight, low-power sensors for measuring dissolved oxygen, inherent optical properties (IOPs) of seawater, chlorophyll a fluorescence (the primary surrogate for phytoplankton biomass), and other fluorescing compounds;
• to verify with ground-truth measurements the high quality data collected by the glider;
• to demonstrate the glider's capabilities for real-time, data-adaptive sampling;
• to enhance understanding of the dynamics of key physical and biological parameters in Puget Sound that are essential to assessing human impacts on water quality;
• to demonstrate the glider's ability to significantly improve validation of satellite ocean color data by sampling at the appropriate scales; and
• to engage undergraduates and graduate students in engineering tests and research applications.
The newly developed optical sensors for IOPs and chlorophyll a fluorescence would be easily adaptable to other platforms, and hence be easily and rapidly available to the general oceanographic community. Also, the glider will be able to operate in areas beyond Puget Sound including both coastal and open-ocean environments.
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Perry, Mary Jane, "Collaborative Research: Incorporation of Sensors into Autonomous Gliders for 4-D Measurement of Bio-Optical and Chemical Parameters" (2006). University of Maine Office of Research Administration: Grant Reports. 113.