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Ocean Research


November 2014 Issue

C-Enduro Joins NOC Project to Collect Ocean Data
ASV’s (Portchester, England) C-Enduro (Sea Technology, March 2014) has recently been selected to take part in a project coordinated by the U.K.’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC). The project is the most ambitious of its kind in Europe, with vehicles aiming to travel up to 300 miles in 20 days.

The C-Enduro is fitted with a range of meteorological and oceanographic sensors to collect scientific data about ocean processes and marine life. Designed to be at sea for up to 90 days, C-Enduro is powered by wind, solar and a lightweight diesel generator. Communication with the C-Enduro will take place over satellite and will be conducted from a control station located at ASV’s new facility in Portchester.

The exercise brings together scientists and engineers from research institutes and universities, commercial organizations, and government agencies, as well as the MET Office and the Royal Navy.

Aquaman Crystal Could Revolutionize Oxygen Delivery
Scientists from the University of Southern Denmark have created the “Aquaman Crystal,” 10 liters of which can absorb all the oxygen from a room, reported The Independent. It can hold three times more oxygen than an oxygen tank, which benefits divers, as well as lung cancer patients. Aquaman Crystal can filter and concentrate oxygen from the environment, in air or water, and release oxygen slowly under a bit of heat.

The crystal comprises cobalt in an organic molecule and has the consistency of a sponge. It has much potential, but at the moment, the crystal is hard to synthesize in large quantities because its chemical formula is complex.

The scientists are investigating whether light can trigger the crystal to release oxygen.

BOEM Tours Okeanos Explorer in Baltimore
BOEM officials had the opportunity to tour NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer (Sea Technology, October 2014) while it was docked at the Port of Baltimore. The ship is one of the premier U.S. ocean research vessels, and it has been used three times as a platform for research supported by BOEM’s Environmental Studies Program and incorporated into its environmental assessment activities.

Through BOEM’s partnership with NOAA, researchers have gathered scientific data to expand understanding of the deep waters and marine life of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. The discoveries help to inform and shape BOEM management decisions regarding offshore energy and marine mineral development.

For example, on the Atlantic, the Okeanos Explorer has conducted mapping expeditions of deepwater canyons in the northeast, which complement BOEM’s mid-Atlantic deepwater canyons research.

The purpose of BOEM’s Atlantic Canyons study is to expand the bureau’s knowledge of the distribution and sensitivity of unique biological habitats in deepwater, as well as potential archaeological sites that may warrant protection.

While BOEM has no oil and gas lease sales scheduled in the Atlantic for the 2012 to 2017 program, the research will provide updated environmental and ecological information to inform future decisions and mitigation measures.

Fabien Cousteau to Open Ocean Learning Center
Fabien Cousteau plans to establish a Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center in South Florida as a virtual platform for children around the world to learn about the ocean and engage with Cousteau directly through social media and interactive videos. The concept is based on the virtual classroom sessions that took place during Mission 31.

Cousteau’s Mission 31 is the longest science expedition to take place at Aquarius, the world’s only underwater marine laboratory. Cousteau’s Mission 31 expedition broke new ground in ocean exploration, paying homage to the 50th anniversary of his grandfather’s, Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s, efforts of leading a team of ocean explorers on the first attempt to live and work at the first underwater habitat for humans.

“Young people are crucial to the health of our ocean,” said Cousteau.

Cousteau is currently building strategic educational and corporate partnerships to open the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center in the beginning of 2015.

He chose Florida as the location because of access to a diverse water system of ocean, lakes, rivers, estuaries, the Everglades, coral reefs and Aquarius.

Radar Satellites Map Thousands of Seamounts
A U.S.-European research team has detected thousands of new mountains rising from the seafloor at least 1.5 kilometers high, thanks to satellites with radar altimeters, according to a study published in Science.

The data sets were taken from Jason 1 and CryoSat. They outline the topography of the seafloor by inference from the shape of the water surface. Given the effect of gravity on water, the ocean surface is higher above seamounts and lower over trenches.

Jason 1 is now out of service, while CryoSat is still in orbit and will continue to yield data.

“CryoSat’s orbit and payload were designed to meet its primary ice mission goals, and extending its coverage to the ocean was on a ‘let’s see what we get’ basis,” said principal investigator Duncan Wingham. “As it has turned out, we now have a marvelous new view of the ocean floor.”

Fisheries management and conservation efforts depend on knowing the location of seamounts because these are regions with abundant wildlife.

Knowing the location of seamounts is also important for studying climate change because seamounts affect current, mixing and heat transfer.

According to the BBC, Dietmar Müller from the University of Sydney said: “You may generally think that the great age of exploration is truly over; we’ve been to all the remotest corners of continents, and perhaps one might think also of the ocean basins. But sadly this is not true—we know much more about the topography of Mars than we know about the seafloor.”


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