A network of underwater cameras
Rapid image capturing of microscopic organisms, such as single-celled protozoa, are adding to the collection of data that researchers are now using to create a picture of the sea change.
The cameras and microscopes attached to the OceanCube are equipped with strobes that light up the underwater darkness to provide microscopic exposures of the organisms. The imaging is "being perfected," said Gallager. Each image is transmitted through the fiber optic cables and is piped back to the laboratory on land.
The information gathered from the cameras amount to 2 terabytes of data each hour, which is a challenge to the amount of available data storage. The current technology allows the scientists to decide which images to keep because processing the images is automated, and the type of fish or organism is classified by the characteristic of each pixel.
Imagery in the ocean is becoming increasingly important in terms of data that scientists need to measure multiple physical and biological changes occurring underwater. In monitoring the movement of fish communities and their food source, the OceanCube may help alert regions to the state of their fish stocks.
"The big picture is to develop enough OceanCubes around the world so that we can begin to take synoptic measurements in each site and see how the world is changing at once," Gallager said. "We can build a story on what is causing the change."
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500