Critical opportunities for technologically advanced shipboard oceanography in 2017

Steering Committee

Dr. Deborah Bronk (Ocean Sciences Division Director, National Science Foundation and Professor, Virginia Institute of Marine Science), Dr. Russ Moll (retired, former Director of California Sea Grant), Dr. Moninya Roughan (Senior Lecturer, The University of New South Wales), and Professor Stefan Williams (Professor, Australian Centre for Field Robotics, University of Sydney)

Table of Contents

Introduction

New and emerging societal needs that shipboard oceanography will be addressing in the next decade

Oceans and Global Climate Change - Prof. Malcolm McCulloch, The University of Western Australia

Marine Pollution with a focus on Plastics - Julia Reisser, University of Western Australia

Polar Oceanography  - Dr. Phil McGillivary, United States Coast Guard

Breakout Session 1: Climate Change - Summary of Discussion:

Breakout Session 2: Fisheries/Sustenance - Summary of Discussion:

Breakout Session 3: Ocean Acidification / Ocean Health - Summary of Discussion:

What major changes will occur in ocean sciences in the next 3-5 years due to continued technology innovation?

Instrument Robotic Platforms: Measurements in a Changing Environment - Dr. Luc Rainville, University of Washington

Cabled Ocean Observatories - Dr. Kate Moran, Ocean Networks Canada

Breakout Session 1: Robotic Platforms  - Summary of Discussion:

Breakout Session 2: Innovation in Sensing - Summary of Discussion:

Breakout Session 3: Observation Networks - Summary of Discussion:

Critical research and exploration that technologically innovative ship-based oceanography will enable in the next 3-5 years

Biological Oceanography - Dr. David Karl, University of Hawaii

Chemical Oceanography - Dr. Lyndon Llewellyn, Australian Institute of Marine Science

Geological Oceanography - Prof. Mike Coffin, University of Tasmania

Physical Oceanography  - Dr. Richard Brinkman, Australian Institute for Marine Science

Breakout session 1: High-resolution data collection - Summary of Discussion:

Breakout session 2: Multi-scale data collection - Summary of Discussion:

Breakout session 3: Deep Ocean Exploration - Summary of Discussion:

Workshop Recommendations

Introduction

On August 19-20, 2014, Schmidt Ocean Institute convened an interdisciplinary focus group of 25 international experts in ocean sciences, technologies, and scientific marine operations. Participants from Australia, Canada, China, and United States discussed and articulated critical directions and opportunities for technologically advanced shipboard oceanography in the next 3-5 years.  

The workshop objectives were to generate new insights into the sources and nature of the societal needs that ocean sciences and marine technologies will be addressing in the next decade.  The discussions included topics such as research infrastructure, innovative technological capabilities that will continue to accelerate the pace of ocean sciences, and critical research directions and opportunities for advanced exploratory shipboard oceanography.  

Throughout the two day workshop, a series of keynote addresses and breakout discussions centered around three discussion areas, which were:

  1. What new and emerging societal needs will shipboard oceanography be addressing in the next 3-10 years?
  1. What major changes will ocean science be experiencing in the next 3-5 years due to continued technological innovation?
  2. What critical research and exploration will technologically innovative ship-based oceanography enable in the next 3-5 years?  

Each discussion area was led by keynote addresses, followed by breakout discussions centered around interdisciplinary topics associated with each of the discussion topics, and finally, contained a chance for each breakout session to “report” back on their discussion.

New and emerging societal needs that shipboard oceanography will be addressing in the next decade

This session focused on the societal needs that could be addressed by shipboard oceanography.  While a broad range of needs could have been addressed,  the session focused on three key themes, Climate and Environmental Change, Marine Pollution with an emphasis on the emerging theme of marine plastics, and  Polar Oceanography.  All three themes presented a range of opportunities for shipboard oceanography.  Schmidt Ocean Institute is well equipped to tackle some of these issues, and it was recognized that there is also opportunity for Schmidt Ocean Institute to build capability in other areas (e.g Polar Oceanography), if desired.  

Oceans and Global Climate Change - Prof. Malcolm McCulloch, The University of Western Australia

Professor Malcolm McCulloch presented the challenges associated with understanding the ocean and its global challenges.  Key points from the presentation were:

 

Marine Pollution with a focus on Plastics - Julia Reisser, University of Western Australia

Ms. Julia Reisser presented on the topic of marine pollution, focusing on plastics and ideas for how shipboard oceanography can help advance the understanding of marine plastic sources, distribution, and impact.  Key points from the presentation were:

Polar Oceanography  - Dr. Phil McGillivary, United States Coast Guard

Dr. Phil McGillivary presented on the challenges and opportunities for polar oceanography in a warming world and the technologies that will enable future polar research. Key points from the presentation were:

Breakout Session 1: Climate Change - Summary of Discussion:

Breakout Session 2: Fisheries/Sustenance - Summary of Discussion:

Breakout Session 3: Ocean Acidification / Ocean Health - Summary of Discussion:

What major changes will occur in ocean sciences in the next 3-5 years due to continued technology innovation?

This session focused on three unique ways to collect data in the ocean, via close range sensing (remote sensing) to collect fishery data,  the use of robotic platforms such as AUVs and ROVs, and through the use of cabled network observatories.  Although some challenges still exist, such as advancing the development of instruments and collecting data non-destructively, these platforms and future innovations have great potential for complementing shipboard data collection.

Remote Sensing - Dr. Euan Harvey, Curtin University

Dr. Euan Harvey discussed remote sensing from the perspective of using close range sensing to measure fish ecology.  Key points from the presentation were:

Instrument Robotic Platforms: Measurements in a Changing Environment - Dr. Luc Rainville, University of Washington

Dr. Luc Rainville discussed the challenges for sampling in remote areas, monitoring climate change and developing biogeochemical sensors for studying the integrated physical and ecological system. Key points from the presentation were:

 

Cabled Ocean Observatories - Dr. Kate Moran, Ocean Networks Canada

Dr. Kate Moran discussed the underwater cabled ocean observatories already established and future plans for new systems. Key points from the presentation were:

Breakout Session 1: Robotic Platforms  - Summary of Discussion:

Breakout Session 2: Innovation in Sensing - Summary of Discussion:

Breakout Session 3: Observation Networks - Summary of Discussion:

Critical research and exploration that technologically innovative ship-based oceanography will enable in the next 3-5 years

The overarching theme of the talks in this discussion group is that there is a need for technology to expand current spatial and temporal scales and the suite of measurements available.  One of the most important roles that Schmidt Ocean Institute can play is as a facilitator in technology development to fill this need.  As a NGO it is uniquely suited to work with industry and to coordinate internationally.  

Biological Oceanography - Dr. David Karl, University of Hawaii

Dr. David Karl presented on the critical opportunities for biological oceanography from a scientific and sustainable perspective.  Key points from the presentation were:

Chemical Oceanography - Dr. Lyndon Llewellyn, Australian Institute of Marine Science

Dr. Lyndon Llewellyn presented his “wish list” of innovative technology to advance researching in the field of chemical and biogeochemical oceanography.  Key points from the presentation were:

Geological Oceanography - Prof. Mike Coffin, University of Tasmania

Professor Mike Coffin presented on the Critical Research and Exploration that should continue to take place in the field of Geological Oceanography.  Key points from the presentation were:

Physical Oceanography  - Dr. Richard Brinkman, Australian Institute for Marine Science

Dr. Richard Brinkman presented on the role of localized turbulence and mixing in the global ocean and the sub-mesoscale processes and shelf ecosystem response. Key points from the presentation were:

Breakout session 1: High-resolution data collection - Summary of Discussion:

Breakout session 2: Multi-scale data collection - Summary of Discussion:

 

Breakout session 3: Deep Ocean Exploration - Summary of Discussion:

Workshop Recommendations

The following recommendations formulated during the workshop appear to resonate especially well with the technological focus of Schmidt Ocean Institute’s oceanographic research program interests: