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Gliders Are Changing the Way Ocean Observations are Made

August 31, 2006

A fleet of gliders from WHOI’s Autonomous Systems Laboratory is quietly monitoring the ocean near Monterery Bay, California as part of a month-long experiment to learn more about ocean conditions that support rich fisheries and abundant marine life. But a longer term goal of the series of experiments taking place from mid-July through mid-September involving many institutions, is the ability of the gliders, without human control, to spend long periods of time at sea monitoring ocean conditions. The experiment could lead to fleets of gliders routinely tracking marine mammals, monitoring oil and chemical spills, and  searching for mines in military operations;  tests of these and other applications by individual gliders and other autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have proven succcesful.