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Mobile Robotic Laboratory Will Track Ocean Toxins: Popular Mechanics Probes the MBARI-NCCOS Research Collaboration

Published on: 05/30/2013

The widely read technology magazine, Popular Mechanics informed its readership about cutting-edge technologies underway at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) to expand applications of the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), a robotic molecular biology laboratory operating autonomously beneath the ocean’s surface.

NCCOS’s primary role in this effort is to develop sensors that can be deployed on the ESP to detect seafood toxins produced by harmful algae. The commercially available, second generation ESP is designed primarily for use underwater on stationary moorings. Work is underway on a third generation instrument that will adopt a miniaturized sensor technology to allow deployment on a long-range autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).

The AUV-mounted ESP, if successfully completed, will be able to track and interrogate the composition and toxicity of harmful algal blooms, providing coastal managers with a uniquely powerful tool for detecting and monitoring these events in near-real time.

For more information, contact Greg.Docuette@noaa.gov.

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