Earlier this week, the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s division of ocean sciences announced it had awarded nearly $1 million to scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California to develop a new breed of ocean-probing instruments.
Oceanographers Jules Jaffe and Peter Franks will lead a team to design and deploy autonomous underwater explorers, or AUEs to study the details of oceanographic processes vital to tiny marine inhabitants. The study will look at defining localized currents, as well as temperature, salinity, pressure and other factors to help researchers gain a better understanding about the effects on diminutive marine life.
According to Phillip Taylor of NSF's division of ocean sciences, "We're seeing great success in the global use of ocean profiling floats to document large-scale circulation patterns and other physical and chemical attributes of the deep and open seas. These innovative AUEs will allow researchers to sample the environments of coastal regions as well, and to better understand how small organisms operate in the complex surroundings of the oceans."
"AUEs will give us information to figure out how small organisms survive, how they move in the ocean, and the physical dynamics they experience as they get around," said Franks.