Prof Laurent Mortier, ENSTA Paris IPP, France
Observing the oceans in coastal and deep offshore zones nowadays relies on coordinated deployments of multiple types of platforms equipped with multiple types of sensors. The ‘multiplatform’ approach is now recognized as the most relevant and cost-effective way to fully describe spatial and temporal oceanic variability for the needs of marine research, ocean observing systems (OOSs) and for the Blue Economy. Observing and monitoring biological communities (from plankton to fish) is still very challenging, but it is essential to unveil complex ecological processes and ultimately allow adequate marine environmental protection measures and a sustainable exploitation of the ocean.
Underwater gliders equipped with novel optical and acoustic imaging sensors have a significant potential to collect and deliver ecosystem data, in particular in extreme environments like the Arctic ocean. Most of the technological building blocks to meet this challenge are available: extremely low power sensors, gliders and software for control and analyses, such as artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, have been integrated and operated in coordination with other observing platforms, and open new perspectives for comprehensive observations in coastal and deep seas. BIOGLIDER addresses this scientific and technological challenge with an innovative and unique 'bio glider' integrated solution. Three smart devices, a vision profiler, a scientific echosounder and an acoustic modem will be integrated on commercially available gliders to provide a ‘smart’ service for zooplankton and fish ecology applications. It will be tested in Nordic seas and the Arctic ocean, meeting the needs of a wide range of customers, from research to the energy and fishery sectors. BIOGLIDER will develop this innovative marine technology expertise in Europe through a strong, organized public private collaboration, leading to the only commercialized solution for a glider-based ecosystem payload available worldwide.