Historically, in order to measure physical ocean processes, scientists were required to charter expensive research vessels for limited mission durations. However, over the last two decades, various autonomous vehicles have allowed researchers to collect long term and significantly less expensive measurements. Popular vehicles for these long term measurements include both underwater and surface gliders. FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) is actively developing custom payloads and mission planning techniques for two commercially available gliders, the Bluefin spray glider and the Liquid Robotics wave glider. These gliders have been successfully used for ecosystem monitoring missions, but have yet to be utilized extensively for ocean current energy applications. Underwater gliders rely on minute changes in ballasting and buoyancy to move up and down in the water column, while traveling approximately four times farther horizontally than vertically. Wave gliders, on the other hand, convert wave motion into propulsion forces, while collecting solar power to run the sensor and navigational systems.
The 10-week project will involve compiling an inventory and status of the HBOI Bluefin Sprayglider fleet. The student will gain hands-on experience on glider technology and operations, as well as mission planning. The project will also involve conducting a test deployment.