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Environmental Monitoring


September 2016 Issue

USGS Study
On Sensor Accuracy

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducted a study of four commercially available ultraviolet spectrophotometric nitrate sensors to determine the effects of suspended sediment concentration (SSC) and colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) on sensor accuracy.

Of the four sensors tested, the Satlantic SUNA V2’s accuracy was affected the least in the CDOM test. The Hach 5 mm, Hach 2 mm and SUNA V2 met their respective manufacturer accuracy specifications up to concentrations of 4,500 mg/L SSC. The S::CAN failed to meet its accuracy specifications when the SSC concentrations exceeded 4,000 mg/L.

Results indicate the sensors are more effective compensating for suspended sediment and less effective compensating for CDOM.

Pathogens Can Survive,
Spread via Microplastics

For the first time, AWI scientists have found evidence of living, potentially pathogenic Vibrios on microplastic particles, which can cause diarrheal diseases or severe inflammation. In the future, researchers want to investigate in greater detail the role of these particles on the accumulation and possible distribution of these bacteria.

Increasing water temperatures means increasing likelihood of potentially pathogenic bacteria appearing in the North and Baltic Seas.

Coastal, Global Nodes

ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. (ASL) supplied the last of the Un-Cabled Bio-acoustic Sonar Instruments for the National Science Foundation-funded Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Coastal and Global Scale Nodes in June 2016.

ASL supplied 16 Acoustic Zooplankton and Fish Profiler (AZFP) instruments for the Coastal Arrays and 20 individual instruments for the Global Arrays. The two Coastal Arrays use a single bottom-mounted instrument, while the four Global Arrays use one upward-looking and one downward-looking instrument mounted on the midwater platform of the Apex Profiler Mooring. In 2016, the first AZFP instruments with 38-, 70-, 125- and 200-kHz channels will be deployed on the Global Arrays in the Argentine Basin, Station Papa, Irminger Sea and Southern Ocean Arrays.

NOAA Data Buoy
Launches in Chesapeake

A NOAA data buoy has been launched to help fill a gap in the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System (CBIBS), a network of 10 observation buoys that mark points along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. It merges cellphone and Internet technology to record and transmit real-time data, including wind speed, water and air temperature, wave height, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and chlorophyll levels.

The buoy is now broadcasting data from its anchorage in 30 ft. of water at the mouth of the York River. Users can access the data via a smartphone app, the Web or by calling 877-BUOY-BAY.

CBIBS data are integrated into MARACOOS (Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System) and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System.

‘The Longest Swim’
For Adventure, Science

Ben Lecomte departed from Tokyo early 2016, with expected arrival in San Francisco six months later, for “The Longest Swim”, a 5,500-mi. journey across the Pacific Ocean. Lecomte, who completed the first swim in history across the Atlantic Ocean without a kickboard in 1998, will swim 8 hr. a day accompanied by six crew members and his support sailboat.

The Longest Swim provides a platform for science and sustainability via Lecomte and his crew collecting samples throughout the journey to contribute to oceanic and medical research.

USCG Testing

De Nora’s BALPURE ballast water treatment system (BWTS) is progressing through land-based and shipboard testing for compliance with U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) ballast water management legislation. The testing and evaluations are being completed under the National Science Foundation Independent Laboratory at the Maritime Environmental Resource Centre (MERC) in Baltimore.

Under the land-based testing, a BALPURE BWTS at MERC will be tested almost every week in different water salinities and with different filters. A series of comprehensive measurements will be taken to ensure that all organisms are killed, byproducts are acceptable and the water is fully neutralized on discharge to prevent any residual chlorine entering the sea.

The shipboard test is being conducted by a MERC specialist on board a vessel that has had BALPURE installed for a number of years and is traversing the west coast of the U.S. over a period of six months.

Eight Wave Gliders
For Japan Coast Guard

Liquid Robotics, specializing in long-duration, unmanned ocean robots, and their Japanese partner, Hydro Systems Development (HSD), have successfully delivered the first fleet of Wave Gliders to the Japan Coast Guard. Liquid Robotics and HSD will assist the Japan Coast Guard in deploying eight Wave Gliders for a multiyear mission providing autonomous observation and situational awareness of ocean currents, wave activity and weather along Japan’s coastlines.

This is the first ocean observation network in Japan’s history that will provide comprehensive and economical monitoring of Japan’s ocean conditions.

DTS-500 Deployed
In Mediterranean Sea

The Applied Acoustics deep-tow sparker, the DTS-500, has been deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, off the continental slope of Majorca, for a project with SOCIB, the Balearic Islands Coastal Observing and Forecasting body. The DTS-500 deployment was up to 500-m depth, at a distance up to 1 km from the SOCIB research vessel.

Saipan Marine Debris

The NOAA Marine Debris Program is partnering with the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance (MINA) to reduce littering and illegal dumping in Saipan by providing infrastructure for proper waste management and raising awareness about littering and marine debris through education and outreach. The project runs through June 2017.


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