The ESP was developed by Chris Scholin, former PhD student with Anderson, and now president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). Earlier models of the ESP were built, tested and used by MBARI researchers, predominantly on the West Coast. The instruments to be deployed in the Gulf of Maine are the first commercially available ESPs, manufactured at McLane Research Laboratories in Falmouth, Mass., under a license from Spyglass Biosecurity.
The ESP deployed last month is called "ESPchris"--named for Scholin--and will conduct sampling for approximately 45 days. "ESPdon"--named for Anderson--will be deployed in late May and continue sampling for another 45 days or until the end of the bloom.
"This type of data will be extremely valuable for ongoing forecasting activities, which have been carried out routinely since 2008. These data are particularly important for testing the forecast model. In the longer term in which we expect more ESPs to be available, we envision assimilating these data into the model, in much the same way the weather service uses meteorological observations," says Dennis McGillicuddy, WHOI senior scientist and co-principal investigator of the project.
NOAA Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science's Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research (CSCOR) is funding the regional ESP pilot through its external Monitoring and Event Response for Harmful Algal Bloom (MERHAB) program. The Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA) authorizes funding for MERHAB and other HAB programs. Funding for the ESPs comes from the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System Program. Development of the ESP was also funded in part by grants from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, NSF, NASA, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foun
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