Ocean Profiling Float Model A Hit For Teaching

By on September 12, 2016
ocean profiling float

A scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) has built a model ocean profiling float for use in educational purposes. The float, featuring a transparent exterior so folks can observe its inner workings, will go far in helping the institute achieve some of its goals in outreach and information sharing.

Hans Jannasch, senior research specialist at the institute, built the ocean profiling float using old and discarded parts from MBARI and the University of Washington. The yellow outer casing that typically covers profilers was replaced with a clear PVC tube.

Inner parts of the float, like sensors and telemetry modules, are labeled. And there are two cutaway elements, painted red, so that the tech inside can be seen.

This includes the flow-cell, a device that allows seawater to be pumped over water quality sensors and shields the pH sensor from light. Another cutaway reveals the bladder that inflates and deflates to allow the float to sink to the bottom of the open ocean and rise through the upper 2,000 meters while gathering measurements at the same time.

The educational ocean profiling float has already become a hit at conferences and workshops. Shortly after it was built, scientists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory used it as a prop during a fundraiser for an array of floats to research carbon dioxide cycles in the ocean. A teachers workshop at Rutgers University also enlisted the clear ocean profiling float for a talk on the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling program.

The float will also be displayed at the upcoming Oceans Conference in Monterey, Calif., held by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers as well as at MBARI’s annual Open House on Oct. 15, 2016. Following the MBARI Open House, its next trip will take it to Marrakesh, Morocco, for the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Top image: Hans Jannasch, senior research specialist at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, with the clear ocean profiling float be built. (Credit: Todd Walsh / Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

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