Sediment Transport Instrumentation Facility (STIF)- Equipment

Science Center Objects

The Sediment Transport Instrumentation Facility (STIF) maintains an extensive and diverse inventory of instruments for measuring oceanographic parameters in-situ over long periods of time (a few days to as long as one year) and platforms on which to deploy the instruments in estuarine, coastal, and deep ocean environments.  These instruments measure a wide variety of parameters relevant to studies of sediment transport and coastal circulation, for example current speed and direction, temperature, salinity, waves, pressure, and proxies for sediment concentration. 

Deployment Platforms

Surface buoys and subsurface moorings support instrumentation at the sea surface or in the water column in coastal or deep water.  Mooring components include surface buoys, subsurface flotation, and acoustic releases. The surface buoys mark the locations of subsurface instrumentation for mariners and fishermen, and may support oceanographic or meteorological sensors.  Instruments supported on sub-surface moorings measure parameters such as current velocity, temperature, conductivity, light transmission, and water quality parameters.  Some systems allow data to be returned to shore in real-time.

Marinna Martini is deploying a weather buoy off the coast of Plymouth MA

USGS researchers deploying a weather buoy off the coast of Plymouth Ma. A specialized wave buoy was deployed at the site farthest from shore to measure the height, period, and direction of surface waves and telemeter the data to the Coastal Data Information Program (CDIP)

Bottom platforms rest on the sea floor and support instrumentation for near-bottom observations and for profiling of parameters in the bottom boundary layer.  Upward-looking current profilers (ADCP) are also often deployed on bottom platforms.  A variety of platform sizes and configurations provide flexibility for different instrument payloads and experiment requirements.  Sensors attached to these platforms measure parameters such as current velocity, pressure, temperature, conductivity, light transmission, acoustic backscatter, and water quality parameters.  Bottom-mounted sensors also obtain photographs or sonar images of the sea floor and pumped water samples for analysis of suspended matter. 

Photograph of Marinna Martini prepares to deploy a NIMBBLE from the R/V Connecticut south of Martha's Vineyard

Marinna Martini prepares to deploy a NIMBBLE from the R/V Connecticut south of Martha's Vineyard

Instruments and sensors

A diverse inventory of instruments are maintained in the STIF (Table).  A description of tripods, moorings, and the instruments used through 2005 is available in the Data Collection section of USGS Open File Report 2007-1194 that documents all aspects of data acquisition, processing and distribution used on data collected by the STIF. Information on some newer sensors is available in the instruments section of USGS Open File Report 2012/1178.  Instruments record data internally and multi-purpose data loggers are customized to accommodate new sensors as the need arises.  New instruments are added to the inventory as technology provides new sensors, improved strategies for instrument sampling, and increased data storage capacity.

Minipod style tripod for near bottom current and wave measurements ready for deployment.

Minipod style tripod for near bottom current and wave measurements ready for deployment.