It may be hard to believe if you have spent any time outside this chilly winter, but spring likely has sprung in the waters of Casco Bay. By January, the lengthening daylight has jumpstarted the growth of phytoplankton, the single-celled plants that are the foundation of the ocean food… Read more
Covered with sea squirts, sea stars, and other marine hitchhikers, the newest member of our monitoring team looks like an abandoned lobster trap. It may be homely, but we are pretty impressed with what it does, collecting water quality data hourly, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It… Read more
Imagine working 8,760 hours a year. Friends of Casco Bay has two water quality monitors that do just that: a datasonde, an instrument that can measure several properties of water at once, and a specialized device that only measures carbon dioxide. They are anchored together on the ocean floor in… Read more
The Care and Maintenance of Our Submerged Monitors
In order to ensure continuous data, we have multiple data sondes, which are swapped and refreshed every two weeks. When he arrives at the dock, Research Associate Mike Doan has less than an hour to reposition the alternate data sonde so that we don’t miss any of those 8,760 hours of information.
Mike hauls up the anchored devices, uploads data from the carbon dioxin sensor to his laptop, and scrapes off marine hitchhikers such as sea stars, tunicates, and algae. As he cleans sea life from the Station, Mike records any invasive species attached to our equipment. “It’s amazing how fast sea creatures occupy any available surface, including our instruments!” says Mike.
Before he leaves, he replaces the data sonde with the freshly calibrated one and lowers the entire Continuous Monitoring Station back onto the ocean floor. Such attention to detail provides quality assurance that the data is accurate.
We thank Casco Bay Estuary Partnership and our generous members for helping fund our Continuous Monitoring Station’s first year.