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Establishing world-class coral reef ecosystem monitoring in Okinawa
Date:9/16/2013

d cube-shaped volume of water in the ocean about 100 meters on a side approximately 200,000 cubic meters in volume. The heart of the cube is a central node at 22 meters depth and 3 kilometers offshore, housing a variety of biological, physical, and chemical sensors to measure the flux of material (plankton, carbon, energy) within the cube. The edges of the cube are established by temperature and current sensors (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) at each corner. High-resolution machine vision cameras capture images of zooplankton and other underwater scenes and stereo images of fish communities, providing an accurate picture of environmental impact on coral reefs. Real-time data recorded by the system are sent via an underwater fiber-optic cable to scientists who can access them remotely. The scientists will use the data to analyze the patterns of ocean circulation and connectivity among coral inhabitants.

Gallager's team is currently funded to construct and install another OceanCube on Oshima Island just 110 km south of Tokyo. "Since both the OIST and Oshima Cubes are directly in the path of the Kuroshio Current, we will be able to observe transport of carbon and quantify the evolution of the plankton community during the 1000 km transit between sites," said Gallager.

The OIST OceanCube is the second such system the WHOI team has installed; the first was in Panama at the Liquid Jungle Lab (LJL), a remote marine lab in the Pacific used by an international group of scientists and students for multidisciplinary research.

"When we installed the cabled observatory 2km off the Liquid Jungle Lab in January 2006 we did not know what to expect. Within a few days we realized we were seeing huge internal waves with water temperatures oscillating between 10 and 30 degrees centigrade within 10 minutes," recalled Amber York, a research associate on Gallager's team. "How do benthic organisms handle such a large thermal change? What communities of fish
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Contact: WHOI Media Relations
media@whoi.edu
508-289-3340
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Source:Eurekalert

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