Coastal and Estuarine Dynamics Project

Oceanographic Time-Series Data Collection

Oceanographic Time-Series Data Collection

Oceanographic time-series measurements made by the USGS between 1975 and the present as part of research programs. The data were collected to address specific research questions using stationary platforms with sensors near the seafloor

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Research Themes

The Coastal and Estuarine Dynamics Group's research, projects, and equipment.

Project Summaries



Science Center Objects

Coastal and Estuarine Dynamics Project exists to support ocean, coastal and estuarine research. The staff have a broad set of skills; from instrument design and development to all forms of work at sea to software development and data management. The team has successfully deployed and recovered more than 1000 data collection platforms for research in the last 30 years.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coastal and Estuarine Dynamics Project, part of the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, provides operational support for studies of coastal ocean circulation and sediment transport. The Coastal and Estuarine Dynamics Project staff design, fabricate, deploy, and recover a variety of instrumented platforms for research.   It has capabilities in engineering, software development, project management, data acquisition, data processing and data archiving. Instrument measurement quality assessments, interface design, and development of novel housings are all examples of the engineering tasks routinely completed. The Coastal and Estuarine Dynamics Project maintains a diverse pool of high-quality oceanographic instruments, and develop new techniques to improve or modify existing sensors and systems. Field experiments are conducted in estuarine, coastal, and continental shelf regions. Oceanographic moorings, tripods and other platforms are deployed at water depths ranges from less than a meter to more than a thousand meters.

The Coastal and Estuarine Dynamics Project team members have extensive experience in collecting and managing oceanographic data from deep water to near shore environments.  They support research projects carried out by scientists at the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center and their colleagues, with assistance to other programs as resources allow.

USGS personnel on the fantail of the R/V Savannah

Sediment transport team members attach a quick-release to the top of a bottom lander prior to deployment

The data collected are typically comprised of measurements from sensors deployed in arrays at fixed locations. These time-series observations are used in studies of regional circulation and sediment transport processes in estuaries, marshes, beach regions and in the coastal ocean. The observation periods range from a few days to more than a year.   Since 1975, the Coastal and Estuarine Dynamics Project has deployed over 1000 separate platforms in support of field research programs.

An extensive software system has been developed and maintained to decode, process, edit, display, archive and analyze the oceanographic data collected. This system uses Matlab® and python programs to output files in EPIC-compliant NetCDF format. CF-Compliant NetCDF files are also created and are available at [] and the Oceanographic Time-Series Database.

Time series observations collected throughout the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (E.E.Z.) by the group since 1975 are managed, archived and distributed to collaborators, other investigators, and the public over the World Wide Web as part of the U.S. Geological Survey Oceanographic Time-Series Database (see File downloads and access via OPeNDAP are possible from the page describing each experiment.

USGS staff uses a radio to determine if an Acoustic Backscatter sensor (white circle) is still operating

Steve Suttles (USGS) uses a radio to determine if an Acoustic Backscatter sensor (white circle) is still operating at the end of the deployment.