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Acoustical Society of America selects AUE paper for award

The editors of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America have selected Perry Naughton‘s paper on using ambient sound to localize our Autonomous Underwater Explorers for their Technical Area Pick for Signal Processing. With colleagues from the Jaffe lab, UCSD, and Université Grenoble Alpes, Perry demonstrated that the free drifting floats could be tracked relative to each other with only sounds of opportunity from the surrounding environment — no extra pingers needed! The technique could be used to facilitate low cost, low energy multi-vehicle surveys.

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Autonomous Underwater Explorers Described in the Journal Nature Communications

Today results from our first field deployment with a swarm of Autonomous Underwater Explorers (M-AUEs) were published in the journal Nature Communications. The article describes the deployment of 16 M-AUEs several kilometers off the coast of Torrey Pines State Park. Along with the M-AUEs, a surface array of acoustic pingers was deployed in a pentagon formation and used to track the M-AUEs underwater in three dimensions. The resulting tracks were used to visualize internal waves propagating through the swarm. The article: A Swarm of Autonomous Miniature Underwater Robot Drifters for Exploring Submesoscale Ocean Dynamics was authored by Jules S. Jaffe, Peter J. S. Franks, Paul L. D. Roberts, Diba Mirza, Curt Schurgers, Ryan Kastner and Adrien Boch.

We would like to thank Rich Walsh who provided small boat support during the development of the M-AUEs and the operations performed during these experiments, Devin Ratelle, Eric Orenstein, Phil  Bresnahan, Mike Ouimet, and Mike Bianco for assisting in the deployment and recovery during the experiment, and the maintainers of the OAR/Keck Pool at SIO for facilitating countless hours of pool testing leading up to the field work.

Below are videos and articles covering the work.

Read moreAutonomous Underwater Explorers Described in the Journal Nature Communications

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New Benthic Underwater Microscope Described in the Journal Nature Communications

Today results from our work on the Benthic Underwater Microscope (BUM) were published in Nature Communications. The article Underwater microscopy for in situ studies of benthic ecosystems reports on the development of the BUM and its application to studying several important benthic processes in situ. The paper was authored by Jaffe Lab members Andrew D. Mullen, Tali Treibitz, Paul L.D. Roberts, and Jules Jaffe; as well as coral ecologists Emily L.A. Kelly, Rael Horwitz, and Jennifer E. Smith.

We would like to thank Dr. Amatzia Genin who provided support and critical guidance during the studies of coral polyp behavior, which were filmed at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat, Israel. We also thank the Keck Foundation for their support funding the instrument development. Additionally we thank the National Science Foundation, Link Foundation, and Binational Science Foundation for supporting Andrew Mullen’s research.

Below are several videos and articles covering the work.

New York Times:


UCSD interview with Andrew Mullen:


Interview with Jules Jaffe

Nature Video:


NSF Science 360 Video:


Read moreNew Benthic Underwater Microscope Described in the Journal Nature Communications

Quantification of Internal Wave Processes on Plankton Experiment Completed

Yesterday we competed the first of hopefully many experiments to study the effect of internal waves on the distribution of plankton in the ocean. The experiment was ambitious, consisting of deploying 16 small autonomous floats multiple times per day, 5 surface pingers, two bottom mounted ADCPs, two thermistor strings, one wirewalker with CTD, optical sensors, acoustic backscatter, and real-time data telemetry, and a dual magnification plankton microscope attached to the end of a plankton net, rapid vertical CTD profiles from a second CTD, and a helikite to observe the surface signal of internal waves. The experiment spanned three weeks and included 100s of autonomous float profiles, 3,564 wirewalker profiles, millions of plankton images, 100s of CTD cast, and close to zero data or instrument loss. A great success! Below are a few images shot over the coarse of the experiment.


Read moreQuantification of Internal Wave Processes on Plankton Experiment Completed

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Delivery of new SPC system to NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Last week Eric Orenstein delivered a new build of the SPC system to Eric Danner’s group at the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center in Santa Cruz, CA. This new build incorporates larger optics to yield a 0.5 L imaged volume, a brightfield illumination to work well even in turbid river and estuary waters, and a custom flow chamber to allow drift nets, pumps, and other methods to collect plankton and pipe them through the imaged volume. More details about the new system can be found on the research page: SPC NOAA Fisheries

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