Instruments, A to Z


Acoustic Recording Package

Acoustic Recording Packages (ARPs) are long-term, autonomous devices which record marine mammal calls.

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP)

Scientists use the ADCP to measure how fast water is moving across an entire water column.

Source: Ocean Instruments

Bongo Paired Zooplankton Net

One of the simplest biological samplers, zooplankton nets are made in a wide variety of styles and sizes.

Box Corer

One of the simplest and most commonly used sediment corers.

Conductivity, Temperature, Depth (CTD) Sensors

A CTD—an acronym for Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth—is the primary tool for determining essential physical properties of sea water.

Source: Ocean Instruments

Epibenthic Sled

The epibenthic sled is designed to trawl just above the bottom at the sediment water interface (the epibenthic zone).

Expendable Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (XCTD) Sensors

XCTD's are small probes which are attached to the ship via a thin wire. The probes are dropped over the side and the data are fed in real time back to the ship.

Gravity Corer

The gravity corer allows researchers to sample and study sediment layers at the bottom of lakes or oceans. It got its name because gravity carries it to the bottom of the water body.

Source: Ocean Instruments

Hydraulically Damped Gravity Corer

This instrument, like other corers and grab samplers, is used to sample sediments from the ocean floor.

Improved Meteorological Packages (IMET)

Researchers use the IMET to understand the role of the exchanges of heat, gas and water across the air-sea interface in climate change.

Large Volume Water Transfer System (LVP)

McLane Large Volume Water Transfer Systems are designed to collect particulate matter, in-situ, in support of oceanographic research projects and environmental monitoring programs.

Moored Profiler

A moored profiler makes repeated measurements of ocean currents and water properties up and down through almost the entire water column, even in very deep water.

Source: Ocean Instruments


MOCNESS is a much-improved, high-tech version of the humble sampling net. The letters in MOCNESS refer to the specific improvements: it's a Multiple Opening and Closing Net, with an Environmental Sensing System.

Source: Ocean Instruments

Nets and Water Bottles

Water sampling devices range from a bucket dropped over the side of a ship to large water bottles sent thousands of meters toward the seafloor on a wire.

Remote Access Sampler (RAS)

McLane Remote Access Samplers are designed to collect in-situ water samples in support of oceanographic research projects and environmental monitoring programs


These vehicles are robotic submarines resembling torpedoes that navigate without a human crew onboard and without cables connecting them to research vessels at the sea surface.

Source: Ocean Instruments

Rosette Sampler

Probably the most commonly used water sampler is known as a rosette. It is a framework with 12 to 36 sampling bottles clustered around a central cylinder, where a CTD or other sensor package can be attached.

Sediment Trap

Sediment traps are containers that scientists place in the water to collect particles falling toward the sea floor.

Source: Ocean Instruments


The beam transmissometer measures the fraction of light, from a collimated light source, reaching a light detector a set distance away.

Grab Sampler

This sediment sampler has a clam shell-type scoop setup.

Water Transfer System (WTS)

The water tranfer system draws ambient water through filters in which suspended material is collected.

Zooplankton Sampler (ZPS)

Zooplankton Samplers are designed to collect zooplankton, in-situ, in support of oceanographic research projects and environmental monitoring programs.