The Sensors on Tropical Research Vessels sub-facility maintains the set of automated sensors designed for taking observations from research vessels that operate in Australia’s tropical waters. The instruments obtain underway observations of temperature, salinity, chlorophyll fluorescence, and turbidity. The two research vessels currently instrumented are the R.V. Cape Ferguson and R.V. Solander. The vessels collect observations from the North West Cape to Northern Australian waters and along the Great Barrier Reef. The Tropical Research Vessels sub-facility compliments the Wireless Sensor Networks facility as the high spatial resolution of the data collected will enhance the high temporal resolution of the sensor network.
The underway systems on the Australian Institute of Marine Science research vessels, the R.V. Solander and R.V. Cape Ferguson, are designed to routinely collect underway measurements of surface properties useful for environmental monitoring in tropical waters. Each vessel has installed a Sea-Bird Electronics SBE 21 conductivity cell with a temperature sensor, a SBE 38 remote temperature sensor, and a WET Labs FLNTU-RT optical sensor (to measure fluorescence and turbidity). Data are collected in Great Barrier Reef waters, the western Coral Sea, off Western Australia, and the Northern Territory during research voyages. Use of the underway sensors depends upon the operational schedules of the vessels and the capacity of users and crew to support the instruments while underway.