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Past Programs
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Development of Nested, Autonomous Phytoplankton Monitoring Technology

April 2002 – April 2004

Project Summary:

The objective this project is to expand the present use of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for  the study of in situ distributions of phytoplankton communities. Specifically, this work will develop and integrate optically-based phytoplankton detection instruments into two classes of (AUVs) to provide an end-to-end in situ phytoplankton detection and mapping network.  The existing platforms for this network development effort include a Webb Research Corporation non-propeller autonomous glider (owned by Rutgers University) and a propeller driven Remote Environmental Measuring UnitS (REMUS) (owned by Cal Poly).  The optical detection system will consist of a capillary waveguide system, which will provide quantitative hyperspectral measurements of particulate absorption, which will be used to differentiate between phytoplankton groups.  Our ultimate goal is to develop a nested AUV observation capability that can provide 1) near continuous in situ data to complement remote sensing monitoring efforts over ecologically significant spatial scales and 2) information on advection patterns of the corresponding biological communities. The developed network will be tested by detecting and mapping harmful algal blooms (HABs) along the West Florida continental shelf. These systems will complement the broader research community efforts to use satellite remote sensing techniques to monitor the distribution and taxonomic composition of phytoplankton communities. 

  Figure 1
 

Embedded data volume collected from 3 gliders and 1 REMUS AUV offshore of Sarasota, FL in November 2003. The “figure-8” path of one of the gliders (thin black line) shows the stratified temperature contours on the shelf. A second glider (thick black line), weaved through the previous glider track, showing depth contours of attenuation at 530nm. The third glider outfitted with the HAB detection instrument flew the same volume as the first glider and measured the similarity index of K brevis with the Optical Phytoplankton Discriminator (indices > 0.30 are highlighted with a red open circle). In addition to the gliders, a REMUS AUV systematically measured the reflectance ratio of 490nm/550nm within a grid.

   

People Involved:

Collaborators:

Dr. Gary Kirkpatrick mote
Dr. Oscar Schofield IMCS
Scott Glen IMCS

 

Related Information:

Research Funded by:

NOAA

 
 


  This page last modified: December 12 2006.