CMS Ocean Technology Group

Ocean Glider Released off Southeast Coast

ST. PETERSBURG - A glider was deployed early in March off the Atlantic coast of Florida with the mission to detect hotspots of reef fish activity in and around marine protected areas using funding provided by 
NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC). Just recently, the glider was retrieved off the North Carolina coast.

For this deployment the University of South Florida’s Teledyne Webb Research Slocum Glider is equipped with two passive acoustic recording systems developed by Loggerhead Instruments and a Vemco VMT tag receiver provided by the Ocean Tracking Network at Dalhousie University.  The resulting data sets will be used to augment NOAA Fisheries SEFSC and NOAA Ocean Service (NCCOS) collaborative research on reef fish spawning aggregations and will contribute to their coral reef fish monitoring programs.  The glider traveled north along the continental shelf edge using the Gulf Stream to transport it until it reached South Carolina, where the glider attempted to transit onshore to about the 50m isobath.  For the remainder of its mission it traversed along shore in the Edisto and North Charleston Marine Protected Areas.

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View CMS Ocean Technology Group website. 

Last modified on Monday, 28 April 2014 18:07

The Camera-Based Assessment Survey System (C-BASS)

ST. PETERSBURG - With support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, scientists and technicians from the College of Marine Science and its Center for Ocean Technology, led by 
Steve Murawski and Chad Lembke, have developed a unique towed camera array system (C-BASS) to allow high resolution sampling of reef fishes and simultaneous habitat evaluations.  The primary motivation for the development of C-BASS is to develop absolute abundance estimates of reef fishes such as red snapper for use in setting fishery total allowable catch quotas.

Our system is equipped to process and record video from both analog and digital video cameras and currently 6 cameras are filming simultaneously. Environmental and system data sampled from an altimeter, compass, CTD, and fluorometer are also recorded.   There is a laser system used to calibrate size measurements of the scenes being filmed and a Didson forward-looking sonar to detect fish movements in response to the C-BASS.  The system was designed to operate in up to 250 meters of water (about 800 feet) but with modifications can be used much deeper.  Two custom manufactured Bridgelux 85 watt array LED lights provide illumination for the video cameras during low light deployments. Scientific sensors, including a WETLabs FLNTU fluorometer and a Falmouth Scientific 2” Micro-CTD are installed on the frame in order to better understand the environmental aspects of the assessment.  An altimeter is also mounted to the frame to ensure proper platform height above the seabed.

Initial trials and experiments with C-BASS have indicated that this system is highly capable of imaging reef fishes and assessing the habitat requirements of fishes encountered.  This system has the potential to revolutionize the assessment and management of fisheries for reef fishes in Florida and throughout tropical areas of the world.

Last modified on Monday, 28 April 2014 18:06

USFCMS Redeploys Glider as Red Tide Begins to Impact the Coast

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - As respiratory irritation and fish kills from the current red tide began to affect northern Pinellas County, the USF College of Marine Science deployed the robotic underwater glider “Bass” on Monday for a two week mission. Bass monitors conditions including water temperature, salinity, and oxygen and sends these data to USF each time it comes to the water’s surface. This deployment complements other efforts by USF, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Mote Marine Laboratory (MML) to observe and model the development of the red tide.

Red tides caused by the harmful algae Karenia brevis are natural and occur regularly off the west coast of Florida. Changes in circulation in the Gulf of Mexico affect bloom development, frequency, and severity. For example, circulation did not favor bloom formation in 2010 or 2013, but did favor it in the current year.

Bass was deployed on the western edge of the surface bloom and is heading offshore to deeper waters before altering course back to the coast. After the first two days, Bass has detected high levels of algae and low levels of oxygen near the bottom, indicative of red tide. Offshore mapping provides valuable information since the red tide populations are delivered to the coast via near bottom currents.

The current glider deployment will help to improve forecasts by USF-FWC Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides (CPR) by providing information on bloom structure below the surface where satellites cannot see. Recent CPR forecasts show slow surface water movement offshore and slow bottom water movement towards the coast over the next 3 days.

This glider deployment was made possible by an emergency response grant from NOAA and internal support by USF College of Marine Science.

Further Information
During blooms, FWC provides a midweek red tide status update on Wednesdays and a full red tide status report on Fridays.
If you need immediate assistance regarding health related issues, please call the Marine and Freshwater Toxin hotline at 1-(888) 232-8635. It is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Please report dead or dying fish to FWC’s Fish Kill Hotline at 1-800-636-0511.
For current beach conditions including reports of respiratory irritation along Florida’s Gulf Coast, visit

Mote Marine Laboratory’s Beach Conditions Report.

Last modified on Thursday, 11 September 2014 14:14

USF’s Slocum Glider Bass collecting Red Tide bloom data

ST. PETERSBURG -  USF's Slocum Glider BASS is currently swimming along the WFS and is collecting/sending real time data on the Red Tide bloom.  

Click on the link to view the SECOORA interactive map.

Read the Bay News 9 article.

Watch the ABC action news video.

Red tide resources

Last modified on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 17:08