MINIONS: Small, cheap, Lagrangian floats for measurement of the biological carbon pump

Jackson Thomas Sugar1, Melissa Omand2, Allan Adams3, Kakani Katija4, Aleck Zhaohui Wang5, Ken Buesseler6, Dana Yoerger7, Ivona Cetinic8 and H. Thomas Rossby2, (1)University of Rhode Island, Saunderstown, RI, United States, (2)University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett, United States, (3)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States, (4)Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA, United States, (5)Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole, United States, (6)Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Department of Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry, Woods Hole, United States, (7)Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, United States, (8)NASA Goddard Space Flight Cent, Greenbelt, United States
We aim to expand the coverage and persistence of oceanic biological carbon pump measurements through the development of low-cost MINature IsOpycNal floatS [MINIONS] to quantify sinking particles in a Lagrangian frame. The floats do not have active buoyancy control, but instead are pre-ballasted to target an isopycnal in the thermocline in the upper mesopelagic (500 m max). Their small size and water-following behavior minimizes the turbulence experienced by marine snow particles that settle on an upward-facing sampling surface, providing a time-lapse series of images of the accumulated particles in addition to temperature, pressure and oxygen concentration. After a prescribed duration, a burn wire drops a ballast weight, the float surfaces and transmits GPS position (for recovery) or data. A single board Linux computer for data management and communication allows easy modification to accommodate future applications. We will present data from MINION pilot testing, lessons learned, and our future research directions.