Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
CANON Initiative
2010 fall experiment

Coastal environment

The 2010 field experiment will primarily focus on the coastal environment. It will consist of using various instruments such as the long-range autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and Environmental Sensor Processor to learn more about the the dynamics of microbial populations in the ocean.

The coastal environment is highly dynamic in terms of physical and chemical properties. Coastal systems contain the majority of ocean life and are in direct contact with human populations, which makes them easier to access. They are highly dynamic and the coastal experiments will center on observing and following harmful algal blooms. The primary coastal microorganisms at issue are diatoms and dinoflagellates.


The 2010 field experiment will use various instruments including:

Click on the image to the above to see a conceptual illustration of the results of the possible CANON Fall 2010 Experiment. © MBARI 2010

Click on the image to the right to see a brief animation of how chlorophyll concentrations change over time with regard to temperature in the Monterey Bay region.

thumbnail for a chlorophyll movie
Animation made by Yi Chao at NASA/JPL.

Click on the image to the right to see an animation of a Regional Ocean Model System (red indicates warm water, blue indicates cold water, and the relief sea surface height shows where there are eddies). The effect ocean eddies have on the ocean's temperature from the years 1993 to 2007 are visible in the animation.

ocean modeling system
Animation made by Yi Chao at NASA/JPL.

Current process of sampling and analyzing phytoplankton blooms

  1. Early event detection: Environmental Sample Processor mooring detects feature of interest. In 2010 remote sensing/ship surveys will be used.
  2. Synoptic surveillance: long-range AUV delineates the bloom boundaries, identifies where to sample.
  3. Water mass tracking: Drifter, long-range AUV, Dorado follow bloom, collect samples and inventory development and decay of bloom.
  4. Validation of autonomous sampling (ship + AUV/sampler): Collect/return water samples, calibrate measurements from platforms (2) and (3).
  5. Predict bloom location: Model assimilates glider, mooring, and AUV information and predicts the movement and size of the bloom over several days.

Adaptive (smart) sampling is key in deciding where, and when to collect samples that would best help to analyze the bloom dynamics in the ocean.

Last updated: Aug. 17, 2010