A request is made to fund replacement instrumentation on the R/V Atlantic Explorer, a 168? general purpose research vessel operated by Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science (BIOS) as part of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) research fleet. The request includes one item: 1) 12 KHz Transducer Funds are requested for acquisition of a replacement 12 KHz Transducer. The existing transducer failed and is no longer operational.

Broader Impacts: The principal impact of the present proposal is under criterion two, providing infrastructure support for scientists to use the vessel and its shared-use instrumentation in support of their NSF-funded oceanographic research projects (which individually undergo separate review by the relevant research program of NSF). The acquisition, maintenance and operation of shared-use instrumentation allows NSF-funded researchers from any US university or lab access to working, calibrated instruments for their research, reducing the cost of that research, and expanding the base of potential researchers.

Project Report

I. Project Activities and Findings: a) Research Oceanographic Instrumentation awards for the R/V Atlantic Explorer support scientific research and technology development that improves scientific knowledge of societal relevant environmental issues. Many of the major research projects that use the R/V Atlantic Explorer are oceanographic time-series efforts (www.bios.edu/research/time_series.html; Figure 1). For example, the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) is an oceanographic time-series project funded by NSF. The BATS program, begun in 1988, is now in its 23rd year of and focuses on low frequency variability of the ocean (www.bios.edu/research/bats.html) over annual to decadal timescales. This is a truly unique program and our understanding of the Sargasso Sea ecosystem is continually improving due to this research. Time-series measurements are a major focus of U.S. and international ocean science research plans and ocean-observing networks supported by NSF. The two NSF-funded stations (Bermuda and Hawaii) are central to national and international plans for a network of ocean time-series stations and are being used as models for time-series research efforts by others. In addition, these two sites are important training and testing grounds for both the national and international efforts to study biogeochemical cycles in the ocean. The Hydrostation "S" sampling program has been conducted at roughly biweekly intervals for the past 54 years (www.bios.edu/research/hydrostation.html). This is the longest continuously running ocean time-series program in the world. This long-term record has proved to be immensely valuable, showing a clear increase in sub-surface temperatures of nearly 1°C over the past half century. Vertical profiles of temperature, salinity and oxygen are available for the entire period; the data from the first 30 years are available at the BIOS website (www.bios.edu). Another important time series program in the waters near Bermuda is the Ocean Flux Program, which measures the sinking flux of particles at several depths below 500 m, has been ongoing for three decades (http://ecosystems.mbl.edu/conte/ofp/). In conjunction with the surface tethered particle interceptor traps (PITS) that are deployed monthly at BATS, this is a one of a kind dataset on particle fluxes in the Sargasso Sea. These major time-series programs have spawned numerous ancillary research projects and process-oriented studies in the past and this number looks to grow substantially in the future. Since the R/V Atlantic Explorer took over servicing these time-series programs in April of 2006, there has been a steady increase in the number of requests for berths on the core BATS cruises and other process cruises in the region. This, in a very positive sense, has increased the demand for improved and upgraded ship equipment and instrumentation. b) Education The R/V Atlantic Explorer operations are important contributors to education, training and public outreach. Given the proximity of Hydrostation "S" and BATS to Bermuda, these cruises serve an important educational role in training future generations of potential oceanographers. At a time when fewer and fewer new scientists are going to sea, the importance of recruiting these new scientists and providing sea-going training experience is critical. The R/V Atlantic Explorer also contains the only classroom in the UNOLS fleet that has been designed primarily for undergraduate education. II. Justification and Cost NSF Award #1114540 in the amount of $33,460 was used to purchase an EDO Western Corporation Model TR-355 12 Khz Transducer to replace a failed unit aboard R/V Atlantic Explorer. The Model TR-355 12 Khz Transducer is a critical component of the R/V Atlantic Explorer’s echo sounding system. The ITT TR-355 is the replacement model of the EDO323B transducer found on many of the University National Oceanographic System (UNOLS) ships. This transducer is required for the operation of the ship’s echo sounding system, which is used on every science cruise. This system is critical for several of our cruises for tracking acoustic pingers and communicating with subsea instruments. This system can also be used to track biological layers to determine the optimal depths for net tows.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE)
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James S. Holik
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Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (Bios), Inc.
St. George's GE01
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