Understanding the presence, distribution, abundance, and population dynamics of harmful algae requires frequent collection of discrete water samples at many depths and locations. However collecting appropriate water samples over relatively large spatial and temporal scales is limited by the frequency one can visit a particular location and the amount of time one can occupy that station. Molecular probe assays offer one means to speed and ease the detection and quantification of an enormous variety of organisms as well as the particular genes they harbor. However, such
applications are presently hindered by the need for highly repetitive operations that demand trained personnel and specialized laboratory facilities. Under the direction of Chris Scholin, the phytoplankton ecology group at MBARI is developing a new class of instrumentation that not only allows for the autonomous collection archival of phytoplankton samples but also enables real-time detection of specific microorganisms in situ through application of molecular probes. 

One of the major instruments currently being developed is the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP).  By integrating a network of these sensors with those aimed at characterizing the physical and chemical properties of the water column we aim to generate synoptic views of the distribution and abundance of target harmful algal bloom species in an environmentally relevant context.  It was deployed to depth of 35 meters at 36 54.935 N and 121 57.776 W.  This moored instrumentation was in testing phase during MUSE. Another ESP was deployed from the R/V New Horizon during MUSE.  

ESP data from R/V New Horizon

Data Index Aircraft AUV CODAR
Drifters Moorings Satellites Ships