Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Ocean Observatories
Science of the next MOOS science experiment

Given a conceptual and technological framework for MOOS Science Experiments (MSEs), described in the following sections, we have defined major science interests for applying new technological capabilities in the next MSE. Key new capabilities are the MOOS mooring (power and communications to the seafloor, connected benthic nodes, enhanced upper water column capabilities), ISI and SSDS (connectivity to instruments and data streams), and vertical profiling (better resolution of water column structure). Within each science focus area, use cases for the new capabilities have been defined, and required measurements have been detailed. Relationships between MSE science interests and externally funded development efforts have been considered.

We have identified a primary region of interest where interdisciplinary science from the air-sea interface to the seafloor can be pursued with integrated application of new MOOS capabilities. Selection of this location was based primarily on details of scientific drivers. Because we sought to build the science around a single mooring location, it was essential to consider overlap between scientific motivations and flexibility of the infrastructure in applying new MOOS capabilities, e.g. the spatial scale of connected benthic nodes relative to the scales of processes.

The summary of current plans is a separate document linked here. The following sections describe the framework with which we began the planning process.

Framework for MOOS Science Experiments

  • Broad science goals based on use scenarios, translated into functional requirements, have provided the framework for broad MOOS architecture and specific MOOS engineering development efforts.
  • The evolving capabilities of MOOS engineering frame possibilities for MOOS Science Experiments (MSEs) to integrate diverse science interests and test system developments. The process of defining science for specific MSEs prioritizes engineering development efforts leading up to MSE field efforts.
  • Lessons learned from MSEs refine our sense of possibilities and will guide the design of the MOOS system as it progresses.
  • Earlier MSEs have been focussed on testing individual MOOS subsystems, or operational procedures in field experiments. MUSE 2000 tested the operation of AUV's and the Vertical Profiler. Canyon Dynamics is testing cable laying and other ROV procedures necessary for working near MOOS benthic expressions.

Shepard Meander Experiment

This MSE will be the first time that many of the MOOS subsystems will be brought together to operate as a single system in the field. As MOOS development is incremental we will be testing basic system functionality at this stage, later developments will include more capabilities.

The Shepard Meander Experiment should:

  • Demonstrate the capabilities of the MOOS system being tested (systems being tested are defined below in section 2.3)
  • Be based on answering important science questions and provide valuable science data set(s) by the end of the experiment
  • Be multidisciplinary in nature, and if possible, involve investigators from other institutions (although MOOS cannot pay for participation of these other collaborators)
  • Have a defined duration (up to 12 months). Extending the experiment after this time would require either an exceptionally compelling case, or external funding
  • Be located in deep water within communications and servicing range (outer bay / in the canyon or somewhat farther into the California Current system)
  • Provide a central focus around which other measurements (shipboard or other platforms) can be made, as demonstrated during MUSE 2000
  • Form the basis of a grant proposal to provide funding to cover the cost of the experiment if at all possible (desirable but not essential).

MSE Technical Capabilities

MOOS capabilities that are to be tested during the MSE will be the MOOS mooring, vertical profiling capabilitities, infrastructure software, and shore side data system (SSDS). Other assets that are not being tested can be proposed to participate in MSE 2003 such as other RV's, ROV's, AUV's, gliders, etc. if they enhance the value of the science being undertaken. The capabilities of the MOOS systems that we would like to test during MSE 2003 are outlined below.

MOOS Mooring

(a) The mooring will be based on the low-power mooring configuration.

(b) The mooring will have an EOM (electro optical mechanical) cable between the surface expression and the benthic expression. This provides a high bandwidth communication link between the surface float and benthic instruments and provides power to benthic instruments.

(c) Power. The mooring power supply system will generate an average of 20-30 W continuous average power. Power needs for some instruments may be met by self-contained battery.

(d) Benthic instruments can be located a few km from the location of the mooring anchor and can be provided with high bandwidth communications and power from the surface float. The total power available to benthic instruments from the surface mooring is dependent on the upper water column instrumentation power requirements.

(e) Communications between the mooring and shore will depend on the method and its operating range relative to deployment location. Options include packet radio (1200 bps), TCP/IP radio (115 kbps), and satellite (100kbps for Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO), but availability more uncertain). The geographic ranges of these methods are provided as maps (Appendix A). This bandwidth will permit near real time instrument control and status as well as data delivery. This will enable event detection and near real time notification to shore offering possibilities of testing primitive options for event response.

Vertical Profiling

Vertical profiling will be of value to many science interests. The MSE 2003 goal is water column coverage by mobile profiling platform(s) and perhaps also fixed instrument chains. A fundamental consideration is the profiling depth range required to meet science goals. Mooring mechanical design and the power budget will be strongly influenced by this functional requirement. The current goal is between 500 m and as close to the surface as possible. The MOOS project plans to investigate vertical profiling options during 2002, implement chosen designs during 2003, and be prepared for deployment during MSE in late 2003. Current engineering research is focussed on accomodating vertical profiling without compromising reliability (a mooring that will stay moored). It is anticipated that docking/recharge of a profiler will not be possible by MSE 2003 (battery swapping will be necessary).

Instrument Software Infrastructure (ISI)

(a) Instrument Interfaces. ISI will supply interfaces to software that talks to a network of instruments and communicates with SSDS. ISI facilitates operational deployment of instruments, including remote communication with instruments and remote control of instruments.

(b) Event detection and response. The infrastructure will support the development of remote applications that enable event detection and response.

Shore Side Data System (SSDS)

(a) Architecture. The MSE 2003 should explore at least one feature from each of the architectural elements of the SSDS; suggested features are listed below. Overall behaviors should include the ability of the SSDS to achieve reasonable throughput/processing under highly variable loads (e.g., when a large data set is loaded).

(b) Catalog. The MSE 2003 use of SSDS will take advantage of the ability of the SSDS to reference a variety of data sets and their contents, ideally including at least one data set maintained outside MBARI. Users should benefit from being able to access the data of interest from a catalog lookup.

(c) Data Ingest. The SSDS will accept a variety of data sources, appropriately tagged to indicate their origins, and automatically process them into data sets. Data can be ingested both over ‘live links' and as ‘offline' inputs from an instrument (e.g., a disk drive containing data collected at sea). The SSDS should handle both low- and high-bandwidth live link data ingest. The SSDS should accept reprocessed (calibrated, validated, etc.) data, and produce useful data sets and links with that information.

(d) Metadata. Data sets that have their contents described at each of the different levels (basic only, normal, and detailed) should be accepted. Corresponding services should be provided.

(e) Data Presentation. Data from the MSE should be available via SSDS in both graphic (via web GUI) and literal (via computational interface) representations. Ability to present data in the form it was generated by the instrument should be verified. The ability of an external application to obtain data from the SSDS, process it, and return the resulting data (appropriately labeled) back into the SSDS should be confirmed.

Appendix A: Communications options for Shepard Meander Experiment

Please note: (1) Costs are approximate and do not take data compression or intermittent links into account, but they do give an idea of the increased cost and decreased near-real-time data return as sites move further offshore, (2) Globalstar is high risk due to potential business failure, (3) packet radio could accommodate only 1 MSE 2003 mooring.