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A novel method of obtaining near real-time observations of phytoplankton from a mobile autonomous platform


A novel method of obtaining near real-time observations of phytoplankton from a mobile autonomous platform
Cost: No Charge
Date: Friday, April 21, 2017
Time: 11:00
Location: Technology Enterprise Facility 216, UVic
Coffee and Cookies will be served! (Bring your own mug.)

ABSTRACT Jupiter Research Foundation (JRF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit scientific research organization, established in 2003. It is dedicated to developing and applying new technologies for monitoring and understanding the natural world, and sharing them with the public and the academic community. This mission and the founder's passion for the ocean early on let to the invention and commercialization of the famous Wave Glider through the spin-out of the commercial venture Liquid Robotics, Inc., in 2007. Today JRF's 14 members are involved in a variety of projects around application of the Wave Glider as well going beyond that into realms from Biology to Radio Communication and Educational Outreach, involving creatures as big as whales and as small as single-celled organisms. One of these projects centers around the important science of phytoplankton, the base of the marine food network. Emerging marine observation technologies provide new opportunities to learn about phytoplankton communities with greater spatiotemporal resolution. Autonomous vehicles enable real-time ocean data collection and communications over long durations, in varying sea states and at lower cost than crewed ships. Liquid Robotics' Wave Glider is one of these systems and JRF is developing a novel device to obtain near real-time phytoplankton observations from this mobile unmanned platform. The Jupiter Autonomous Microscope (JAM) is an autonomous microscope imaging system that acquires, crops and geo-tags phytoplankton images and sends them to a shore-based server via mobile phone or satellite networks. On-shore processing includes automated object measurements and classification, as well as statistical calculations. Images and corresponding data are made accessible on a dedicated website that allows filtering, annotation and sharing. Successfully deployed on Wave Gliders for several weeks at a time, JAM provides a unique view of phytoplankton community structure. BIO Heike Schmitz works at the Jupiter Research Foundation (JRF) in Los Altos, California, where she manages the JRF Autonomous Microscope (JAM) project as well as develops its diverse underlying software system. For these roles, she combines a background in software engineering and management with a passion for marine biology and an interest in marine microalgae. She studied Computer Science at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, and after a successful career as an software engineer and engineering manager at Google, she returned to college for a B.S. in Marine Biology from UC Santa Cruz.