This post comes to us from Faculty Research Assistant and Engineering Technician, Alex Turpin:
As a faculty research assistant, I help Dr. Haru Matsumoto in the research and development of autonomous hydrophone systems. These systems vary from underwater vehicles like Kongsberg’s Seaglider, which uses a novel method of propulsion, allowing it to operate (and record ocean sounds, in our case) long term with little energy use, all the way to stationary platforms. A lot of my work entails testing electrical and mechanical components of these systems in the lab to make sure they work flawlessly in the field.
Most recently I’ve been refurbishing our Seaglider (SG607) “Will” after our most recent deployment off the coast of Washington. Refurbishment includes, among other tasks: downloading the data Will gathered, changing batteries, checking and confirming electrical connections, replacing worn parts, and ballasting for future deployments. The acoustic data retrieved from Will from this deployment included typical electrical line noise we always try to eliminate, as well as some other strange noise whose source wasn’t quite as obvious. And this is one of the parts of my job that I truly love: a problem that isn’t easily figured out and requires thorough investigation to fully solve. Will and Otis (SG608) have another deployment coming up next month in the Gulf of Mexico for one of Dr. David Mellinger’s projects; he’s involved in a group collaboration, which will try to answer the question, “Did whale and dolphin populations in the northern Gulf of Mexico change after the Deepwater Horizon spill?” See LADC:GEMM’s website for more information.