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Monitoring An Ecosystem

The Polar Remote Interactive Marine Observatory (PRIMO), scheduled to be deployed off Antarctica in 2006, will be the first cabled observatory capable of remaining under the ice for a year. It receives power from and sends data back through an electro-optical cable to Palmer Station in Antarctica. A winch system drives an instrument platform up and down between surface waters and the seafloor. It is equipped with instruments that measure salinity, temperature, depth, oxygen, water motion, sound, water turbulence and clarity, light, nutrients, chlorophyll, organic matter, the amount and types of phytoplankton, zooplankton, and larger animals present, along with the platform?s own orientation?all to help reveal the complex interactions and dynamics of the fertile ecosystem in the Southern Ocean.
PRIMO is a collaborative project, led by Vernon Asper of the University of Southern Mississippi and Scott Gallager of WHOI. (Illustration by Jayne Doucette, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)