Deploying anchor chain for an oceanographic buoy
USGS researchers Chris Moore and Mitchell Lemon took a trip on the R/V Weatherbird in January of 2020 with the University of South Florida College of Marine Science as part of a study on carbon dioxide in the Gulf of Mexico. Carbon Dioxide, or CO2, is a greenhouse gas that can be absorbed by the ocean. Higher levels of CO2 can make the ocean more acidic and lead to negative effects on marine life. The Gulf of Mexico is home to diverse ecologically and economically important marine life, so it is important to understand how CO2 is absorbed into the water in this region.
To do this research, Chris and Mitch deployed instruments on a USF buoy that collects temperature, salinity, pH and CO2 data , as well as other ocean chemistry information. The buoy can then send back information to the lab every hour. Each year, the gear needs to be switched out to validate the equipment and ensure that it continues to collect the most reliable data possible. This continuous stream of reliable ocean CO2 data can help scientists better understand how increases in CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere could potentially affect our oceans and the marine life that resides there.
Here, a researcher prepares to release the anchor and chain for a buoy that collects oceanographic data. The anchor will hold the buoy in place and prevent ocean currents or winds to displace it. The buoy is equipped with instrumentation to monitor temperature, salinity, CO2, pH, and other oceanographic information.