The Great Barrier Reef and a network of sensors
January 17th, 2006

The BBC reports “scientists on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are establishing a network of sensors to better understand this beautiful part of the underwater world.The Australian Institute of Marine Science (Aims) is working with James Cook University on a project called Digital Skins.Smart sensors,developed originally for use in nuclear power stations,are placed in the ocean and also in water catchments on the mainland.They are able to communicate with each other to monitor events such as coral bleaching as they happen”.Further,”each sensor in the skin has its own numerical address and operating system.Using a global position system,the sensors knows exactly where they are.Parameters such as salinity,temperature and nutrient levels are measured.Communicating with the sensors is a challenge,particularly for those sensors located out on the reef.Using a technique that was discovered by the British during World War II,microwave signals are sent along the surface of the ocean.Initial tests have seen data sent as far as 70 km (43.5 miles) in one hop.The final link in the chain is grid computing.All these sensors create terabytes of data every day.High-speed links allow the various institutions to share their computing power”.

Sensors watch Barrier Reef coral

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