Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Island Ferries Take on Role of Research Vessels Collecting Data about Nantucket Sound

Ferries that connect Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are taking on another role - research vessels.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) biologist Scott Gallager and colleagues have installed a package of sensors on the 235-foot freight ferry Katama to measure water quality and to photograph plankton as the ferry crisscrosses the western side of Nantucket Sound year-round, several times daily.

“Hitchhiking science on a ferry provides a terrific opportunity for us to better understand how water quality and ocean life change over time,” Gallager said. The measurements for the Nantucket Sound Ferry Scientific Environmental Monitoring System began in May.

With the interest and cooperation of the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority, which operates the ferry service between Cape Cod and the islands, Gallager and colleagues developed a sensor package to measure water temperature, salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll, and water clarity, and take images of plankton living in the water column. Real-time data from the sensors travel over a wireless connection to Gallager’s shore-based lab, where he and WHOI colleagues Steve Lerner, Emily Miller, Andrew Girard, Andy Maffei, and collaborator Kevin Fall from Intel Corporation make them available to scientists and the public on the project Web site,

The WHOI team will be installing another instrument package on the Steamship Authority ferry Eagle, which runs between Hyannis and Nantucket on the eastern side of Nantucket Sound. Their objective is to build up a detailed, continuous portrait of changing water conditions and plankton communities in Nantucket Sound over long time scales.

Nantucket Sound is a triangular area of coastal ocean between Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket and is known for its changing water conditions and diverse marine life. The cold south-flowing Labrador Current nearby collides with warm water in the relatively shallow Nantucket Sound, creating a perpetual front just inside the eastern Sound. As water shifts with the wind and the tides, warm-water and cold-water species are thrust into the same space. Waters loaded with nutrients, from septic systems and runoff along the developed Cape Cod coastline, also mingle in the Sound with North Atlantic waters that have far fewer nutrients.

Gallager studies plankton, the tiny and abundant swimming animals that serve as food for coastal fish and marine mammals. The numbers and proportions of different plankton in coastal oceans change with the seasons and ocean conditions, and Gallager is interested in the processes and their time scales that control those changes.

The availability of plankton can make the difference between healthy and undernourished stocks of commercial finfish and shellfish. Storms, nutrient runoff from coastal development, and the warming of coastal ocean waters could drastically alter the types of plankton that flourish in Nantucket Sound, and therefore the quantity and quality of food for fish, marine mammals, and ultimately people.

“A long-term archive of how conditions change in Nantucket Sound could provide an early warning about the health and function of coastal regions important to our economy and our quality of life,” Gallager said.

The Nantucket Sound Ferry Scientific Environmental Monitoring System project is supported by the Woods Hole Sea Grant program.

Shelley Dawicki | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>