WHOI engineer Andy Girard (left) and biologist Scott Gallager installed a cabled underwater observatory off the west coast of Panama at the Liquid Jungle Laboratory in January 2006. (Photo by Emily Miller, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
The Panama Liquid Jungle Lab (LJL)Underwater Tropical Observatory (PLUTO) is located on the seafloor 60 feet (18 meters) deep off Pacora Island in Panama (red dot). An electro-optical cable (black line)?0.68-inches thick and 0.8 miles (1.3 kilomers) long?links the observatory to LJL (green dot), where data from under the sea is relayed via the Internet. (Courtesy of Scott Gallager, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
The underwater observatory gives scientists the ability to observe and begin to unravel all the factors that combine to sustain the oceanic ecosystem?how fresh water, plant detritus, sediments, chemical, and other materials run off the coasts; how they mix into the sea, increase turbidity, change the penetration of light, and add nutrients; how all these influence marine life, from microscoic plants to corals and fish; and how these change after storms and over seasons.
(Courtesy of Scott Gallager, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
A WebCam on the observatory on the seafloor off Panama transmits images via the Internet. See what's happening at http://4dgeo.whoi.edu/panama. (Courtesy of Scott Gallager, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
WHOI Engineering Assistant Andy Girard (tan pants) and workers lay out a 1-mile (1.5-kilometer) electro-optical cable at the Liquid Jungle Lab in Panama to deploy an underwater observatory. The cable provides power and data communications between observatory and laboratory, and data are relayed via the Internet. (Photo by Peggy Hamner, UCLA)