NHEERL’s Gulf Ecology Division, in collaboration with the Naval Research Laboratory, launched an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) on August 1, 2011. The AUV deployment is part of a Pathfinder Innovation Project. The AUV will travel along the coast from Pensacola to Panama City, FL, measuring temperature, salinity, chlorophyll, turbidity, color of dissolved organic matter, and light attenuation. This deployment is in synchronization with the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) located on the International Space Station. HICO provides a measure of water quality conditions in estuaries and coastal waters. Data from the AUV will be used to validate HICO water quality data products in coastal waters.
The objective of this Pathfinder Innovation Project is to develop a space-based environmental monitoring system that provides information for the sustainable management of estuarine and coastal systems. This project also will develop a mobile smart phone application to disseminate water quality information to the public.