Additional Participants

Senior Personnel

Casey Moore, Lead Project Engineer on optical sensor development
Ron Zaneveld, subcontractor, theoretical design of optical sensors
Emmanuel Boss, subcontractor, field of interpretation
Jan Newton, subcontractor, field testing of oxygen sensors
Lee Karp-Boss, calibration of sensors

Graduate Student

Brandon Sackmann
Brian Thompson
Caleb Carter
Eric Rehm

Technician, Programmer

Julia Boss
Wes Strubhar
David Kallin
Emily Kallin

Organizational Partners

Oregon State University
WET Labs, Inc.
Washington Department of Ecology
University of Washington

Other Collaborators or Contacts

Dr. Craig Lee

Project Period

October 1, 1999-September 30, 2005

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



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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Oceanography Commons



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