Archive for February, 2008

We have a new boat!

February 28, 2008

Our new research vessel (boat) arrived yesterday. Pretty cool!

New SkIO Research VesselThe 28-foot fiberglass boat was specially designed for rapid surveys of shallow water environments. It is powered with twin Yamaha 250 hp outboards. When it is all fitted out, it will have an air conditioned cabin, a davit for lowering instruments over the side and lots of other bells and whistles.

One really neat system that makes it an actual “research vessel,” rather than just another fishing boat, is a flow-through water system with chemical sensors and GPS. Essentially, it will allow the new vessel to cruise around the inshore waters and while getting a constant reading of water temperature, depth and salinity. That data will be linked to the GPS system to create a data map of whatever area the scientists are studying. Imagine that!

The new R/V is still nameless, but not for long.


Building a living lab on a barrier island

February 21, 2008

We are involved with several other organizationsOssabaw Island Beach in a cool project to establish a network of environmental sensors on Ossabaw Island, south of Savannah. Ossabaw Island is owned by the state of Georgia and dedicated to education and research as a heritage trust. Various groups visit the island frequently to study the environment and history. The idea behind this network is the visitors (students, teachers, researchers, etc) can continue to monitor the island once they return home via any computer.

Freeway on Ossabaw IslandWe are working with the Georgia DNR, who manages the island and the Ossabaw Foundation and Ossabaw Educational Alliance, who are responsible for the education programs there. We also have to give credit to Georgia Power and the Georgia Research Alliance. Between the two of them, they are funding most of the project. Georgia Power has funded a power grid on the island and the installation of a broadband wirelss communications system to handle the data. GRA recently provided a $100,000 grant for additional sensors and networking equipment.

Ossabaw Island Weather StationRight now there is a weather station on the island that can be accessed through the Georgia Weather Network.

The photo here on the left shows the technicians installing it.

There are also a couple of sensors placed in wells to monitor the level, temperature and salinity of the groundwater.

We expect to install additional sensors in the coming months. Eventually, there will also be some video cameras to keep track of wildlife, beach erosion, etc. There is still alot more to come.

For more information, check out the Skidaway Institute Web Site.