An Autonomous Vehicle Based Open Ocean Lagrangian Observatory

Brett Hobson1, Brian Kieft1, Ben Y Raanan1, Yanwu Zhang2, James M Birch3, John Phillip Ryan4, Francisco Chavez1 and Chris A Scholin5, (1)Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA, United States, (2)MBARI, Moss Landing, CA, United States, (3)Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, United States, (4)MBARI, Moss Landing, United States, (5)Organization Not Listed, Washington, United States
One of the greatest challenges to understanding ecosystem dynamics in the open ocean is predicting where and when hot spots of biological activity exist and then observing and sampling those features for days to weeks, as they move in a complicated trajectory. It is difficult to apply traditional research vessel-based techniques at the relevant temporal and spatial scales when the biological features could be spinning in an eddy, rising and falling on internal waves, or even actively migrating. To address this challenge the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) is developing an observing system based on a collaborating group of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and an Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV). Building on the capabilities of the Long Range AUV (LRAUV) and a Liquid Robotics SV-3 Wave Glider, MBARI has begun deploying arrays of LRAUVs configured with complementary sensors that work together as an Open Ocean, Autonomous Vehicle-based Lagrangian Observatory.