Posted January 06, 2019 09:00:56As the ocean continues to absorb the effects of climate change, marine scientists are learning to cope with the challenge.
Scientists at Northeastern University say the world’s first marine-sensing underwater drone is the first of its kind in the world.
The unmanned device uses a camera mounted in the sea floor to pick up and record the depth of water below.
This enables scientists to use the data to better understand how the sea is changing and the impact of climate changes, said John Darnell, a Northeastern marine scientist and co-founder of the Deepwater Marine Science and Education Center.
The device was designed by marine biologist Mark O’Neill of the University of Miami.
He is the recipient of the US National Science Foundation grant for research into underwater drone technology.
Darnell said the project has also been a great opportunity to learn about the technology and how to use it.
“I’m very excited to be part of this,” Darn.
“It’s a big deal, and I’m really excited about what this can do for marine science.”
Northeastern’s Deepwater Research Center, based at the school’s Daughters of the Ocean, hopes the device will allow scientists to understand the ocean more deeply.
It will allow them to better track how sea surface temperatures change and the sea’s current and future trends.
For O’Neil, it’s a way to get out in the ocean and see how the world changes.
“This is an underwater drone that you can see and touch in real time, to get a sense of how things are changing and how the ocean is changing,” he said.
Northeast’s Deepsea Research Center has also received funding from the US Department of Energy to study ocean-based bio-mimicry.
The program is focused on marine biology, chemistry, and geology.
The center’s goal is to create the first underwater bio-technologies to mimic the biological processes occurring at the seafloor.
Drones are increasingly becoming part of the everyday life of the world as more and more people use them for everything from fishing and surveying to remote sensing and mapping.
O’Brien said Northeastern has been a key partner in bringing drones into the ocean for research.
“We’re very excited about the collaboration with Northeastern and their research, and the opportunity to bring them into the marine science community,” he added.
Norman, Darn, and O’Neills research into ocean-related technologies has been funded by the National Science Board, which awards grants to universities to help them develop cutting-edge research.
They are also working on new technologies that will help people to live a healthier and happier life.