Facility for Automated Intelligent Monitoring of Marine Systems (FAIMMS)
Sensor Networks are a leading edge technology that can be used to provide spatially dense bio-physical measurements in real-time. In the marine environment they have particular application to the study of benthic ecosystems. The term 'sensor network' refers to an array of small, wirelessly interconnected sensors that collectively stream sense data to a central data aggregation point. Some sensors can be set to sample according to prevailing conditions (e.g. monitoring salinity more frequently after rainfall), but since communications with the sensors is bi-directional they can also be manipulated by central land-based control systems as part of an 'smart' response to real time events. Initially they will be deployed in a large scale pilot to collect data related to the interaction of heat and light in coral bleaching, and to understanding the impact of upwelling from the Coral Sea upon the productivity of Great Barrier Reef ecosystems.
While sensor networks are a leading edge technology, they are well suited to the proposed application because proven technologies exist for reliable sensing of physical variables (e.g. temperature, salinity, light) critical to the immediate scientific questions, which are:
- Understanding the interaction of heat and light in coral bleaching, and;
- Understanding the impact of upwelling from the Coral Sea upon the productivity of GBR ecosystems.
The immediate value of the network will be its ability to return spatially dense bio-physical measurements in real-time. Real time data allows for events of interest to be detected and acted upon. As such Sensor Networks offer a unique coastal monitoring capability and are suitable for a range of coastal monitoring applications.