Massachusetts News

Ethan Edson of Ocean Diagnostics demonstrates some of his microplastic sensors. Credit: Ocean Diagnostics.

SMTP Helps to Power Future Ocean Tech

that can be lowered over the side of a kayak, or deployed while SCUBA diving, to completely autonomous sensors that hook into a ship to passively collect data. “Sampling microplastics is really tricky because the ocean has so many other things in it,” says Edson. “If you are in Massachusetts, Bermuda, the Mediterranean, or Southeast Asia, it all looks different. Designing one sensor that can go into any water body and detect microplastics has been a great challenge. But really fun to work on.”The SMTP program is doing exactly what it set out to do, helping Ocean Diagnostics

NUI is lowered into the Aegean Sea before plunging to a depth of 500 meters to explore Kolumbo volcano. (Photo by Evan Lubofsky, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

WHOI Robot Takes First Known Automated Sample from Ocean

, they will ultimately need to work independently like this and without the assistance of a pilot,” he says.Moving forward, Camilli will continue working with Billings and colleagues at the University of Michigan, as well as researchers from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago to push the automation technology forward. The work will include training ocean robots to see like ROV pilots using “gaze tracking” technology, and building a robust human-language interface so scientists can

Greensea CEO Ben Kinnaman announced the opening of his company's second office.

Greensea Opens Second Location

than 900 marine systems," said CEO Ben Kinnaman. "Being on the waterfront, in the heart of a vibrant maritime community, is the perfect place to expand our company. We hope that having an office in Plymouth is an attractive option to potential talent, some who may already call South Eastern Massachusetts or Cape Cod home."Greensea specializes in solving the tough problems of subsea navigation and autonomy, and is expanding its subsea, surface, and aerial applications on the OPENSEA platform. “Greensea is actively recruiting navigation and controls engineers, project managers,

Longfin squid (Doryteuthis pealeii) are an important species in the east coast squid fishery, which is valued at about $40 million per year. (Photo by Ian Jones, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Ocean Noise: Pile Driving Triggers Alarm Responses in Squid

Institution (WHOI) researchers published Dec. 16, 2019, in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.“This study is the first to report behavioral effects of pile driving noise on any cephalopod, a group including squid, cuttlefish, and octopuses,” says lead author Ian Jones, a student in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography.Squid use natural alarm and defense behaviors like inking, jetting, and changing color and patterns on their skin for communication and also for survival when they’re trying to avoid capture. Squids&rsquo

SeaTrac’s new SP-48 production model ASV. Buddy Duncan, SeaTrac.

On-Demand, Continuous Eelgrass Monitoring

The ChallengeEelgrass (Zostera marina) is a valuable coastal habitat in Massachusetts, forming a complex underwater landscape that stabilizes seafloor and adjacent shoreline, filters the water of sediments and nutrients, and provides important habitat for shallow water species.South of Boston, the bays of Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth (DKP) form a large embayment whose eelgrass population, once thriving, is now severely diminished. A 2016 report from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) summarizes these data: the overall loss in DKP from 1951 to 2012 is 44.4%, with a concerning

Dr. Eric Lindstrom is the new Chief Scientist at Saildrone (Photo: Saildrone)

Saildrone Hires New Chief Scientist

establish a web site of ocean climate indices, and as co-chair of the Task Team for an Integrated Framework for Sustained Ocean Observations, he created guidelines for system development entitled “The Framework for Ocean Observing.” He has degrees in Earth and Planetary Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1977) and Physical Oceanography from the University of Washington (1983). His scientific interests include the circulation of the ocean and air-sea exchange processes and include extensive experience in both sea-going oceanography and remote sensing. In 2013, he received

Pic: IBM

IBM Joins Mayflower Autonomous Ship Project

, this time using AI and other advanced technologies, the American IT major said.The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) will use IBM’s AI, advanced servers, cloud and edge computing technologies to navigate autonomously and avoid ocean hazards as it makes its way from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts. During the 12-day voyage, the ship will be powered mainly by wind and solar energy."Putting a research ship to sea can cost tens of thousands of dollars or pounds a day and is limited by how much time people can spend onboard – a prohibitive factor for many of today's marine scientific

Polystyrene pollution at the tide’s edge. Photo by Jayne Doucette, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Study: Sunlight Degrades Polystyrene Faster than Expected

, play a major role in breakdown. “Different additives seem to absorb different frequencies of sunlight, which influences how fast the plastic breaks down,” Reddy says.Also collaborating on the paper were Cassia J. Armstrong and Julia H. Jackson of WHOI, Anna N. Walsh of WHOI and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The research was funded by the Frank and Lisina Hoch Endowed Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Stanley Watson Chair in Oceanography, and a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation

Philip Adams, Director UMass Dartmouth’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Photo: UMass Dartmouth.

Pioneering Ocean Energy Innovation in New England: Wind and Water

If one is wondering when and if and where the offshore wind business is going to become established, wonder no longer. Massachusetts is the epicenter of the offshore wind business and as such will translate nicely for ocean tide and wave energy development. Synergies in offshore engineering, resource assessment, permitting, construction, and maintenance of ocean wind, wave and tidal energy are obvious but not fully articulated.Sharing lessons learned in “getting steel in the water” was the purpose of the May 23, 2019 2nd Annual Marine Renewable Energy conference. The one day conference was

Depredation—when seals and other marine animals prey on fish caught in net—can be costly both economically and ecologically. It can reduce the amount of sell-able fish, damage fishing gear, and lead to the lethal entanglement of seals and other protected marine mammals in fishing nets. (Illustration courtesy of Terra Dawson, dawsonillustrations.com)

Underwater Cameras Tackle Tough Questions for Fishery

on both fronts. On the economic side, it can reduce the amount of sell-able fish and lead to torn fishing nets. “A five-inch opening in the net can quickly become a 15-inch hole when a seal gets caught and tries to free itself,” said Doug Feeney, a commercial fisherman based in Chatham, Massachusetts. When fishermen spend time mending nets and sorting through their catch for fish they can sell, they often lose valuable fishing time, which compounds the financial hit.From an ecological standpoint, the incidental by-catch of gray seals—which occurs even when they’re not preying

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