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Sensors Summer Course (22 June - 1 July 2015, Kristineberg, Sweden)


Instrumenting Our Oceans For Better Observation:

A Training Course on Autonomous Biogeochemical Sensors 

IOCCP Summer Course_Announcement

Download a pdf version of this flyer for distribution.

In recent years ocean technology has leaped to the aid of scientists by providing them with cost-effective tools that can take measurements of essential biogeochemical variables autonomously, i.e. sensors on autonomous platforms. These autonomous measurements are complementary to efforts carried out by traditional ship-based sampling, with the aim of improving data coverage worldwide. Yet, despite these options becoming more readily available, there is still a gap between the technology (investigators and technicians that deploy these technologies) and the end-user. This is born as much out of lack of training, lack of in-depth knowledge, and lack of community coordination. There is also a disconnect between data gathering by autonomous chemical sensors and data quality, which is a major obstacle as these sensors are already being deployed on autonomous platforms in several different projects in several ocean areas. Indeed, the Panel for Integrated Coastal Observation (PICO-I) pointed out that while some of the required technologies are mature, the implementation on a global scale may be limited by lack of common standards and protocols and/or calibrated and validated algorithms for translating data into useful information.

To this end, the IOCCP will hold its first course on autonomous biogeochemical sensors with the aim to promote and enhance the utilization of these sensors, and to teach users common best practices of use and data reporting. The need for such course was identified by the scientific community which felt that there exists an urgent necessity to address the usage of autonomous biogeochemical sensors to carry out time-series work, complement existing autonomous platforms, expand our current observational network, and ensure that the data being collected can serve both scientific and societal needs. While many biogeochemical parameters cannot yet be directly characterized to the accuracy and precision required for climate research, there are several autonomous sensor technologies which can tackle some essential biogeochemical variables with the quality required, and they are mature enough to be implemented within regular monitoring platforms. These technologies include oxygen, nutrients, carbon dioxide and pH. There is also a need to integrate (and standardize) sensor methodologies, including quality control, data reporting and calibration protocols. A ‘global biogeochemical sensor network’, which fills the current gaps that exist in ocean observing, is needed to understand changes in marine biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems. Such network should be integrated with existing sampling programs so that it has the necessary synergy to make it useful to the current scientific objectives. Incorporating autonomous sensors into existing platforms that take regular, high quality, discrete measurements (i.e. time-series stations) is also one approach to validation.

Summer course “Instrumenting our oceans for better observation: a training course on biogeochemical sensors” will be held in June 2015 in Kristineberg, Sweden. The primary goal of the course will be to generate a “Best Practices” guide, which provides easy-to-follow steps on usage (including preparation, deployment, recovery and basic data reporting, processing and quality) of autonomous biogeochemical sensors. This includes:

  • Essential instrument know-how (instrument communication, sensor data QC, biofouling prevention, etc.)
  • User recommendations
  • Site-specific recommendations
  • Troubleshooting
  • Data management, quality and reporting.

Application details will be available shortly.