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OASIS :Ocean Acquisition System for Interdisciplinary Science

                                                   Photograph of Moorings in "dry dock" at the MBARI facility
Figure 1. Machinist Lauren Mitchell in the high bay during a mooring buildup. The tower and instrument cages, along with other items, are made in MBARIís machine shop. On the left are the 3 legged towers used on the equatorial Pacific mooring, on the right is the 4 legged M1 tower used in Monterey Bay. 

Two OASIS moorings have been successfully deployed off the central California coast since 1992. Real-time access and 2-way telemetry has allowed the moorings to become test-beds for the deployment of new sensors, and widely used observational and planning tools. Over longer time scales the moorings will be an important tool for tracking environmental variability. OASIS drifters have been tested in 11 deployments off California and 3 deployments in the equatorial Pacific. 

Table 1. M3 and M4 are no longer deployed; these were deployed in 1999-2000.

Mooring Name

Decimal Latitude

Decimal Longitude



















For a description of the OASIS controller, its deployment on moorings and drifters see Real time experimental moorings:An OASIS in Monterey Bay, California


Figure 2.  View of MBARI moorings, subsurface moorings, and telemetry. 
Download map as tiff image (1mb)

map of mooring locations

Figure 5. A view of the instrumented mooring M2.

  Photograph of M2

Figure 3.  Engineering view of Mooring 1 (M1) Click on the image for an enlarged view (12k)

m1 schematic

Figure 4. Diagram of the OASIS controller.  The controller is currently being redesigned.  Click on image for an enlarged view.

Schematic of the oasis controller.

Figure 6. Subsurface portion of the floatation platform. The lower section of the elevator shaft is visible with its suite of sensors. The elevator raises the sensors for easy access during in-situ maintenance.

Photograph of a mooring subsurface sensor platform

               Photograph of a retrieved mooring; the bottom of the donut and subsurface sensor cages covered in barnacles.  Biofouling

Figure 7. Biofouling on the M2 mooring, the number one problem for the moorings. The moorings are pulled in on a regular basis for maintenance: rebuild, cleaning and replacing instruments. Routine maintenance is also done in situ, with technicians boarding the mooring while
out at sea. Routine maintenance includes replacement of the large battery packs that help power the instruments

                   Telemetry tower at Mount Toro

Figure 8. Erecting the telemetry tower on Mount Toro. The advantages of two-way, real-time telemetry are several fold. It allows for quality control of data so as not to lose long, expensive mooring deployments. The data is immediately available for analysis, assimilation into models, and calibration of satellite sensors. The real-time information provided by the system can be of tactical use for shipboard experiments, especially those geared at episodic events.  Finally, instruments can be accessed remotely so that sampling frequency can be modified according to needs or troubleshooting be performed without retrieval.