Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New robotic instruments to provide real-time data on Gulf of Maine red tide

Date:
May 7, 2013
Source:
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Summary:
A new robotic sensor deployed coastal waters may transform the way red tides or harmful algal blooms are monitored and managed in New England. The instrument was launched at the end of last month, and a second such system will be deployed later this spring.

The Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) automatically collects a sample of water and then rapidly tests it for DNA and toxins that are indicative of targeted species and substances they may produce.
Credit: Illustration by E. Paul Oberlander, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

A new robotic sensor deployed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Gulf of Maine coastal waters may transform the way red tides or harmful algal blooms (HABs) are monitored and managed in New England. The instrument was launched at the end of last month, and a second such system will be deployed later this spring.

The results will add critical data to weekly real-time forecasts of New England red tide this year distributed to more than 150 coastal resource and fisheries managers in six states as well as federal agencies such as NOAA, the FDA and the EPA. Researchers also plan to add data from the sensor to regular updates provided on the "Current Status" page of the Northeast PSP website.

"This deployment is a critical step towards our long-term dream of having a network of instruments moored along the coast of the Gulf of Maine, routinely providing data on the distribution and abundance of HAB cells and toxins. The technology will greatly enhance management capabilities and protection of public health in the region," says Don Anderson, WHOI senior scientist and the project's principal investigator.

The two sensors, known as Environmental Sample Processors (ESPs), are molecular biology labs packed inside canisters the size of kitchen garbage cans. In the Gulf of Maine, the ESPs are mounted to ocean buoys and will detect and estimate concentrations of two algal species that cause HABs or "red tides" and one of the potentially fatal toxins they produce.

The first, Alexandrium fundyense, a single-celled algae, produces toxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). The second organism, Pseudo-nitzschia, is a diatom responsible for amnesic shellfish poisoning, or ASP The data from the instruments will be transmitted to the shore in real time.

One instrument was tested off the coast of Portsmouth, NH, in 2011 and 2012. This year will see the first sustained deployments of the technology spanning the Alexandrium bloom season in the western Gulf of Maine and the first time the algal neurotoxin responsible for PSP will be autonomously measured by an ESP in natural waters.

The project scientists want the ESPs to become an integral part of the regional ocean observatory network managed by the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal and Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS), which currently consists of 12 instrumented buoys that measure currents, salinity, temperature and meteorological variables at multiple locations in the Gulf of Maine and Long Island Sound.

"The ESPs are not a replacement for state-run programs that monitor naturally occurring marine toxins in shellfish. Instead, they will provide valuable data on the phytoplankton cells and associated toxins in coastal waters giving managers a more complete picture of the magnitude and distribution of HAB events," says Kohl Kanwit, director of the Bureau of Public Health for the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Since bloom toxicity can fluctuate substantially and in turn influence toxin levels in shellfish, this capability represents a significant step towards assessing the potential of a bloom to cause shellfish toxicity. The toxin detection capability is being implemented through the joint efforts of Greg Doucette of NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), who developed the PSP toxin sensor, and Juliette Smith, a postdoctoral investigator in Anderson's laboratory. Funding has been provided by NOAA's National Ocean Service and from the MIT Sea Grant program.

"Developing this technology and transitioning it to field testing with academic and industry partners in the Gulf of Maine is the next step in delivering and validating routine forecasts," says Doucette. "This pilot will demonstrate the ability of ESPs to deliver accurate and critical data to regional resource managers. This is an excellent example of federal, academic, and industry collaboration working together to protect the public's health."

The ESP was developed by Chris Scholin, former PhD student with Anderson, and now president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). Earlier models of the ESP were built, tested and used by MBARI researchers, predominantly on the West Coast. The instruments to be deployed in the Gulf of Maine are the first commercially available ESPs, manufactured at McLane Research Laboratories in Falmouth, Mass., under a license from Spyglass Biosecurity.

The ESP deployed last month is called "ESPchris"--named for Scholin--and will conduct sampling for approximately 45 days. "ESPdon"--named for Anderson--will be deployed in late May and continue sampling for another 45 days or until the end of the bloom.

"This type of data will be extremely valuable for ongoing forecasting activities, which have been carried out routinely since 2008. These data are particularly important for testing the forecast model. In the longer term in which we expect more ESPs to be available, we envision assimilating these data into the model, in much the same way the weather service uses meteorological observations," says Dennis McGillicuddy, WHOI senior scientist and co-principal investigator of the project.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. "New robotic instruments to provide real-time data on Gulf of Maine red tide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130507155038.htm>.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. (2013, May 7). New robotic instruments to provide real-time data on Gulf of Maine red tide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130507155038.htm
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. "New robotic instruments to provide real-time data on Gulf of Maine red tide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130507155038.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook Earnings Put Smile on Investors Faces

Facebook Earnings Put Smile on Investors Faces

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Facebook earnings beat forecasts- with revenue climbing 61 percent. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
StubHub Caught in Global Cyber Crime Ring

StubHub Caught in Global Cyber Crime Ring

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) eBay's StubHub is caught up in an international cyber crime ring stretching from North America to Europe. Conway G. Gittens reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins