Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
CANON Initiative
Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network

Scientific Illustration of various fixed and mobile platforms in Monterey Bay used for the Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network
Illustration of various fixed and mobile platforms in Monterey Bay used for the Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network.
Illustration by David Fierstein © MBARI 2005


CANON adapts AOSN systems and methods for biological process experiments. There are a number of differences - the observational requirements are different so some new platforms and sensors are required.

Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network (AOSN) involves using multiple autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and gliders to characterize physical ocean processes. Integral to the idea is coupling the observation system to ocean models, and adapting the configuration of the deployed system to improve modeling performance. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) funded the development of gliders, early AUVs, AUV docking systems, and a number of field programs for AOSN. The last of the major AOSN field efforts was in Monterey Bay in 2003 in which the entire concept of coupling observation systems to ocean models was demonstrated.

Sensors like the In Situ Ultraviolet Spectrophotometer (ISUS) nitrate sensor, dissolved oxygen, various types of fluorometers, particle size, and the Environmental Sample Processor become important, as does water sampling for later laboratory analysis. Deployment time requirements are set by the duration of biological events; for example, a coastal bloom might last about a month. This drives a need for a platform that can last about a month (much longer than a Dorado class AUV) and carry a more complex sensor suite than a glider. AOSN focused on physical observations and predictions over large areas (more than 10,000 square kilometers). The initial CANON program goes in the other direction, using mobile platforms to track individual aggregations of organisms to better observe how they respond to and interact with their surrounding environment.

CANON takes advantage of the original AOSN concept and innovations, but then takes them in a different direction—to study the biological ocean at high resolution and in detail.


Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network Home Page

Last updated: Aug. 17, 2010