Marine sensors for the 21st Century
The marine environment plays an essential role in the Earth's climate, provides resources, recreational opportunities and is a vital transportation route. The marine system remains poorly understood as far as many chemical and physical parameters are concerned. This lack of understanding limits our ability to efficiently monitor the system, and for instance to look at the effects that climate change will have on fisheries, how pollutants move through the environment or how the environment is affected by varying temporal and spatial scales.
SenseOCEAN draws together established and world leading marine sensor developers from across Europe, to develop a new highly integrated, multifunction, cost-effective and mass deployable in-situ marine biogeochemical sensor system. This collaborative project will provide a quantum leap in the ability to quantify a suite of currently hard to measure biogeochemical parameters. These are crucial to the scientific understanding of the oceans, management of ocean resources, in-situ calibration / validation of satellite Earth Observation data, and supply of data for development of state
of the art biogeochemical (process) models. The project will innovate and combine state of the art sensor technologies (microfabrication, lab-on-chip, micro and calibration free electrochemical sensors, multiparameter optodes and multispectral optical sensors) in a modular and configurable system easily usable across multiple ocean and environmental platforms. Precompetitive prototypes will be optimized for scale up and commercialization including preparation of data flow and data management architectures.
These will be tested and demonstrated on profiling floats, deep-sea observatories, autonomous underwater vehicles, and fishing vessels. Specific objectives are the development of integrated systems with sensors for pH, carbon dioxide, carbon, alkalinity, oxygen, nutrients, metals (iron and manganese) but also for coloured dissolved organic matter, chlorophylls, photopigments, primary production, organic fluorophores, etc. These integrated systems will be optimized for power consumption, chemical usage and waste production. They will be resistant to bio-fouling to facilitate long-term deployment in the marine environment. The resulting systems will be developed to provide near-market systems; these will then be launched as commercially available products.
Activities of the project can be described as follows: firstly, the project will focus on underpinning sensors' technology, including power and data management, development and testing of novel sensing technologies and bio-fouling approaches. Secondly, the project will deal with the development of the sensors to the prototype stage and cover the design of the sensors, the testing and performance, as well as the production and integration of the sensors. A specific work package will also be dedicated to a sensor's demonstration programme.