Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
CANON Initiative
CANON sampling workshop

April 15-16, 2010

MBARI hosted a workshop in spring of 2010 for the purpose of reviewing the needs of autonomous water sampling systems in marine science. Collecting water samples and transporting them to the laboratory for analysis will remain a critical activity for the ocean sciences for the foreseeable future.  While methods for ship-based sampling are well understood, the growing use of autonomous platforms, both fixed and mobile, raises both opportunities and technical challenges.

The goal of the CANON workshop was to develop a detailed understanding of sampling needs, including requirements for sample size, spatial and temporal scales of sample intake, sample container sterility, onboard sample processing or preservation methods appropriate for specific organisms, and subsequent sample analyses. Workshop participants included science users and technology developers of water sampling systems.


Close up image of a "Gulper" water sampler
Close up view of a "gulper" water sampler. © MBARI 2010

Workshop technology priorities

  • Creation of sampling devices (such as the gulper water sampler) that can filter and collect volumes of water ranging from one to four liters. Collecting larger samples of water will allow researchers to capture fairly large phytoplankton, organisms, and to have a greater range of data to work with.

  • Development of more than 50 devices that would collect small volume samples of water (less than 50 milliliters).

  • Development of devices that can not only capture water, but can follow changes with onboard instrumentation (nitrate, oxygen, and flow cytometry).

Workshop case study presentations

Five case-studies were presentations in different areas of marine ecology. Presentations included an introduction to the problem, a description of the sampling methods presently in use, and a vision of how sampling methods should be further developed to advance the specific research area.


Case studies

Last updated: Aug. 17, 2010