University of Southern Mississippi and Liquid Robotics launch ocean acidification study in the Gulf of Mexico

In an effort to investigate the feasibility of new technologies in the Gulf of Mexico to monitor changes in ocean acidity related to CO2fluxes between the atmosphere and ocean, physical oceanographer Dr. Stephan Howden, University of Southern Mississippi (USM), is partnering with ocean engineers at Liquid Robotics, an ocean data services provider credited with developing the world’s first wave-powered, autonomous marine robot called the Wave Glider.

The Liquid Robotics Wave Glider used for the pilot project is equipped with sensors to measure carbon dioxide (CO2) and dissolved oxygen levels, pH, water temperature, conductivity, air temperature, barometric pressure, and wind speed and direction. The carbon dioxide sensor, which measures the mole fraction of CO2 on either side of the air-sea interface, was developed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. The team successfully deployed the glider on 15 October 2012 from the USM R/V Tom McIlwain near the USM Central Gulf of Mexico Ocean Observing System (CenGOOS) at 30.0424oN, 88.6473oW. The location was selected so that the glider traverse begins and ends at the CenGOOS buoy, which has a similar CO2 measuring system developed and built by the Pacific Marine and Environmental Laboratory. That buoy is in the process of being turned around and should be available for validation at the end of the glider mission. The glider is programmed to run a route around the Mississippi River Delta and traverse over stations where the NOAA R/V Ronald H. Brown sampled in July 2012 during the second Gulf of Mexico and East Coast Carbon program. The GCOOS-RA is supplementing the 36 day mission in support of NOAAs Ocean Acidification project. The Wave Glider is reporting data in near-real time and is available on the GCOOS Data Portal (see In addition to exploring the use of mobile platforms to monitor conditions in the Gulf of Mexico, the joint mission is an opportunity to train the GCOOS Data Portal team to work with wave glider data. The GCOOS team is working with Liquid Robotics to deploy an IOOS-compatible SOS server using the new glider data schema, and to visualize the data on the GCOOS website using an ESRI-GIS-based trajectory and data display viewer. For more information, please contact Stephan Howden at or Jamie Griffith at

Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System, 23 October 2012. Article.

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