Listed here are the primary projects that CINAPS is involved in.
- Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS)
- Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Monitoring & Ocean Desalination
- Marina Del Rey Water Quality Monitoring Network
- Monitoring and Event Response for Harmful Algal Blooms (MERHAB)
- Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS)
UCLA's CENS is focused on the development of wireless sensing networks that have a variety of scientific and societal applications. Networked Aquatic Microbial Observing Systems (NAMOS) is one research area of CENS, focused on the creation and application of wireless sensing systems to observe, model and predict the dynamics of aquatic microbial populations. A fundamental goal of this research is to understand how microorganismal populations respond to environmental driving forces. In turn, meeting this goal requires in situ sensing systems that can make measurements and characterize ephemeral or emerging biological events, and populations, at spatial and temporal scales that are relevant to the microorganisms.
CINAPS's unique approach to aquatic sensing and sampling employs coordinated measurements involving both stationary sensing nodes and robotic vehicles (surface robotic boats and autonomous underwater vehicles) to provide in situ, real-time presence for observing parameters related to plankton dynamics (e.g. chlorophyll concentration, dissolved oxygen), and linking them to environmental variables (e.g. temperature, light, nutrients, etc.). Sensing and sampling capabilities of the autonomous vehicles are controlled through the development and application of adaptive protocols, directed through the network.
A new advancement within our wireless networked coastal sensing program has been the development of hardware and software for coordinated activities of underwater robotic vehicles. The goal of this work is to develop algorithms and approaches for transmitting sensed information to shore-based facilities, assimilating the information into predictive models of coastal ocean physics, and using the resulting model predictions to change the mission of the underwater vehicles to optimize their activities (set new tasks, way points, etc.). This work is being realized through attempts to characterize high-nutrient freshwater discharges into the coastal ocean, and the blooms of planktonic algae that are often stimulated by these inputs.
Members of the CINAPS group collaborate with West Basin Municipal Water District, Trussell Technologies, Inc., and Separation Processes, Inc. to examine the interaction between Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and the processes of desalination of ocean water. This project addresses the fates and possible impacts of phytoplankton-derived toxin and excessive plankton biomass on the quality of intake water for desalination facilities and the permeate produced by the reverse osmosis process. The project entails coastal ocean monitoring at two pilot desalination facility sites in Santa Monica Bay, CA (El Segundo and the City of Redondo Beach), as well as laboratory work to investigate toxin loading onto reverse osmosis membranes. The monitoring consists of two moored ocean buoys that measure a variety of parameters that inform scientists and plant operators of the chemical and biological condition of the intake water. These parameters include temperature, salinity, chlorophyll, suspended particulate matter and dissolved oxygen at both a near surface depth (~0.5 m) and a near bottom depth (~15 m). Phosphorous is also being measured at the near surface depth.
Additionally, weekly water samples are collected from the intake water and from the reverse osmosis permeate. These samples are analyzed for the presence of phytoplankton-derived neurotoxins. The goal of this component of the project is to examine the potential for these toxins to pass through the membranes and into the permeate.
Sponsored by the Brown Family Foundation, the goal of this project is to establish a network of water quality sensors within Marina Del Rey, one of the largest man-made small boat harbors in the U.S. The sensors in this network provide information that enables the detection of short-term adverse environmental events such as 'red tides' and other harmful algal blooms, and an early-warning system for increases in algal abundance that may be indicative of the conditions that lead to these events. The water quality parameters measured by these sensors are augmented by the periodic collection and analysis of water samples for common algal toxins.
The NOAA MERHAB research program is aimed at addressing the growing national HAB threat. Scientists from USC, UCSC, UCLA and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project collaborate on a project funded through this NOAA program entitled Rapid Analyses of Pseudo-nitzschia & Domoic Acid, Locating Events in near Real Time (RAPDALERT).
The goal of this project is to implement HAB monitoring and sampling efforts that incorporate innovative in situ sensor networking technology, state of the art remote sensing, cutting edge species identifications and domoic acid quantification. This monitoring effort is based upon a Freewave linked sensor network that incorporates both fixed site sensors (buoys and pier-mounted sensors) and autonomous ocean gliders along with ocean color imagery to detect and map HABs, and to provide an early warning detection system specifically for Pseudo-nitzschia outbreaks and domoic acid toxicity events.
The SCCOOS is a consortium of university and research agencies that has established a growing coastal ocean observing system for the Southern California Bight.
CINAPS is involved in three main areas of SCCOOS:
- High Frequency Radar Network
- Mapping Coastal Plumes & Algal Blooms
- HAB Monitoring at Newport Pier
This network of high frequency radars measures surface currents from Malibu to Newport and offshore to Catalina Island. These currents can be used for example to predict the fate and transport of contaminant plumes (e.g. oil spills, sewage discharge, river or storm runoff, algal patches, etc) or to aid in search and rescue efforts. The data from the network of HF radars feeds into the regional ocean modeling system (ROMS) maintained by NASA's JPL.
The mapping of runoff plumes, sewage outfall discharges, algal bloom events and coastal ocean processes. Autonomous gliders are used as the primary tool for this mapping, and like the HF Radar data, feeds into the regional ocean modeling system (ROMS) maintained by NASA's JPL.
SCCOOS maintains a set of 5 HAB sites from San Luis Obispo to La Jolla. USC (CINAPS) is responsible for weekly sampling at the Newport Beach Pier consisting of samples for phytoplankton species, domoic acid, nutrients, chlorophyll and temperature. This site is co-located with a SCCOOS maintained Newport Beach automated shore station.