The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will lead a MARINER Category 4 project to develop an autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) system for monitoring large-scale seaweed farms for extended periods. Compared to more costly human labor and boat operations, UUV systems present an attractive option for consistent, daily monitoring of large-scale, offshore seaweed farms. The system will routinely survey and quantify key parameters such as infrastructure health, macroalgae growth rate, and nutrient content of the water. An upward/downward split-beam acoustic echosounder will use sonar technology to monitor the longline array used to grow the macroalgae, quantify growth on the longlines, and detect fish/zooplankton in the water column. Environmental sensors include a nitrate sensor (nutrients) and a package for collecting temperature and salinity data. A panoramic camera system will be used for close inspection of infrastructure and anomalies, with images available to operators within 24 hours of capture. Ultimately the UUV-based system will be able to operate in real conditions offshore and over large areas without human intervention.
PI: Erin Fischell; email@example.com