In addition to creating sensor nets, these modems could be used to send data to autonomous crafts on the water's surface. Researchers at UCSD's Calit2 led by Doug Palmer, principal development engineer, are working on such a craft, Reef Bot.
Closer to home, Benson had first hand knowledge of how sensor nets could be useful for monitoring California's rocky reefs. Outside of school, Benson serves as the Southern California volunteer coordinator for the nonprofit organization Reef Check. Benson oversees the training of veteran divers to conduct surveys of the species living in reefs from Santa Barbara to San Diego.
"Our volunteers learn how to identify fish and other organisms and learn what protocols we use. Once they are certified, the volunteers go out and help us do the surveys," said Benson, who will oversee a survey in La Jolla Cove on May 30.
"I have the field experience, and I see the need for the cheap sensor networks we are working on," said Benson, who envisions a future where volunteers and autonomous robots work together to monitor the health and species richness of reefs and other underwater ecosystems.
|Contact: Daniel Kane|
University of California - San Diego