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Sensor Monitors Gulf of Maine Algae for Signs of Approaching Red Tides

Published on: 05/03/2012

During the week of April 26, researchers funded by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science deployed a sensor that detects cells of the species of algae responsible for toxic red tides in the Gulf of Maine. The device relays its data back to scientists on land to enable state agencies decide whether or not to close specific areas to shellfishing earlier.

This sensor, called the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), is being tested simultaneously with traditional shipboard sampling techniques to determine the sensor’s accuracy. NOAA and state agencies are eager to see a string of ESPs transmitting a stream of continuous, near-real-time data along the coast to increase the precision of weekly HAB forecasts during active blooms. This deployment is a significant advancement toward realizing this goal.ESP data will also have immediate value in monitoring this year’sNew England ‘Red Tide.’

The researchers are from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and were featured in an article in the Boston Globe.

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