JORDAN Mario Alberto
congresos y reuniones científicas
Underwater vehicles for remote and systematic sensing on the seafloor
MARIO A. JORDÁN
Jornada; VII Jornadas Nacionales de Ciencias del Mar 2009; 2009
Development of technological facilities and methodologies to ensure and manage biodiversity conservation in oceans is one of the most important goals in both governments policies and large-sighted educational vision to preserve and deal with ocean resources. This entails a vast research in different fields of Oceanography and Ocean Engineering working cooperatively to achieve together interdisciplinary human resources and to employ specific equipments to monitor and manage the quality of oceans in the surface, in the column and on the seafloor. Worldwide, many current research areas in Oceanography are interlaced, involving biologists, oceanographers, geologists and engineers, with the goal of applying aquatic and subaquatic platforms with on-board ad-hoc scientific instruments, which can navigate as autonomous underwater vehicles and so have the aptitude for decision-making by themselves. In this paper we intend to illustrate these platforms as intelligent vehicles with scientific equipment which are programmed to systematic sampling, to scan the sea bottom or the column, to collect data and samples (visually and materially), and to follow biological targets in their own environment without perturbing them. Moreover, they can be also teleoperated to transmit a huge volume of data like videos in order to analyze them in a surface ship in real time. In our case, the common applications currently are focused first to fishery (with aims directed to species conservation, behavior observation, monitoring of biomass and environmental subaquatic conditions), and secondly, to studies of the erosion influence in ecosystems of costal environments. The employment of autonomous/teleoperated underwater platforms has created a new concept in the framework of oceanographic methodologies in coastal and off-shore campaigns in comparison to traditional methods. First, the systematic measurement in the column and sea bottom, particularly at great depths, is practically not possible to attain from a ship at lower costs. Moreover, the fast sampling on a extensive grid of coordinates makes it possible to concrete studies in a specific physical period (for instance, during the high/low tide), that on the other hand, with traditional methods from ship would have to be shared out in several days loosing the temporally ephemeral environmental conditions that support the validity of the study. So, the employment of rapid underwater platforms enables more truthful studies and model validation than usual methods under reliable environmental conditions without having to fill "hollows of information" with speculative theoretic hypotheses. This paper attempts first to trace new trends in methodologies conforming the state of the art in dealing with underwater technology applied to systematic monitoring of oceans and leading a wide-spectrum basic research in marine ecosystems. Secondly we will illustrate some own experiences and projects being carried out in the Argentine Institute of Oceanography by the Group in Control System in Ocean Engineering in the last years, particularly in developing and implementing such technology. Concepts and case studies of the application are presented.