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Argos DCS System Use Agreement of the Month – July 2013

Cobscook Bay Resource Center


Description:

This project consists of a field drifter study of circulation patterns in the combined Passamaquoddy/Cobscook Bay ecosystem located in eastern Maine, USA.

This area is a highly dynamic marine environment vulnerable to marine oil spills. Our drifter study provides field data for a 3D circulation model of the combined Passamaquoddy & Cobscook Bay system developed by Dr. Huijie Xue, a researcher at the University of Maine at Orono.

Drifter data is also used to inform planning for other industries and projects in the area including aquaculture siting, disease transmission, and tidal power.

We own five Seimac C-AST drifters with Argos and GPS capability that we use to track surface currents. The drifter design consists of an electronics module housed within a floating barrel. Telemetry and positioning are provided by Argos using Seimac Smart Cat PTTs as well as GPS.

Using the Seimac C-AST drifters allows us to coordinate data collection and data analysis with Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans staff since the same type of equipment is used by DFO staff during their drift studies in Passamaquoddy Bay.

Drifters are released from a pre-determined site in a cluster of five at the beginning of a tide stage. If the clustered drifters do not disperse, subsequent releases from that site are staggered. In other words, a single drifter is released from the site during each hour of a 6 hour tide stage.

Drift trials are short term, consisting of a half tide cycle or approximately six hours. The short duration of drift trials was chosen to reduce the likelihood of retrieval of drifters from offshore waters, which would require larger boats and increased staff time. Also, anything left in the water for longer than six hours tends to run aground in this near-shore area.

Argos capability is necessary in the drifters in order to more effectively retrieve drifters with which we have lost visual contact. We use a Gonio 400 Argos Direction Finder to determine bearings and retrieve drifters.

For more information, please visit http://www.cobscook.org/aboutthebay.htm

 

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