Assessing the potential of autonomous submarine gliders for ecosystem monitoring across multiple trophic levels (plankton to cetaceans) in shallow shelf seas

Suberg, LA; Wynn, RB; van der Kooij, J; Fernand, L; Fielding, S; Guihen, D; Gillespie, D; Johnson, MT; Gkikopoulo, K-C; Allan, IJ; Vrana, B; Miller, PI; Smeed, D; Jones, AR. 2014 Assessing the potential of autonomous submarine gliders for ecosystem monitoring across multiple trophic levels (plankton to cetaceans) in shallow shelf seas [in special issue: Autonomous Marine Vehicles] Methods in Oceanography, 10. 70-89. 10.1016/j.mio.2014.06.002

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mio.2014.06.002

Abstract/Summary

A combination of scientific, economic, technological and policy drivers is behind a recent upsurge in the use of marine autonomous systems (and accompanying miniaturized sensors) for environmental mapping and monitoring. Increased spatial–temporal resolution and coverage of data, at reduced cost, is particularly vital for effective spatial management of highly dynamic and heterogeneous shelf environments. This proof-of-concept study involves integration of a novel combination of sensors onto buoyancy-driven submarine gliders, in order to assess their suitability for ecosystem monitoring in shelf waters at a variety of trophic levels. Two shallow-water Slocum gliders were equipped with CTD and fluorometer to measure physical properties and chlorophyll, respectively. One glider was also equipped with a single-frequency echosounder to collect information on zooplankton and fish distribution. The other glider carried a Passive Acoustic Monitoring system to detect and record cetacean vocalizations, and a passive sampler to detect chemical contaminants in the water column. The two gliders were deployed together off southwest UK in autumn 2013, and targeted a known tidal-mixing front west of the Isles of Scilly. The gliders’ mission took about 40 days, with each glider travelling distances of >1000 km and undertaking >2500 dives to depths of up to 100 m. Controlling glider flight and alignment of the two glider trajectories proved to be particularly challenging due to strong tidal flows. However, the gliders continued to collect data in poor weather when an accompanying research vessel was unable to operate. In addition, all glider sensors generated useful data, with particularly interesting initial results relating to subsurface chlorophyll maxima and numerous fish/cetacean detections within the water column. The broader implications of this study for marine ecosystem monitoring with submarine gliders are discussed.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Subjects: Conservation
Oceanography
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Sea and Society
Depositing User: Dr Peter I Miller
Date made live: 09 Mar 2015 10:56
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:13
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/6320

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