BY EQUIPPING UNDERWATER GLIDERS with acoustic sensors and computer software, Oregon State oceanographers are teaching the autonomous vehicles to identify biological hot spots in the oceans.
“We want to get a better handle on what kind of marine animals are out there, how many there are, where they are distributed and how they respond to phytoplankton blooms, schools of baitfish or oceanic features,” says Jack Barth, a professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State. In other words, they want the glider to “think like a fish.”
Barth is working with Kelly Benoit-Bird, professor and marine ecologist in CEOAS, and with Geoff Hollinger, assistant professor in the College of Engineering’s robotics program. They received support from a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation.