Data buoys

Autonomous data buoys collect data on a wide range of chemical, physical and biological aspects of the Western English Channel as part of the Western Channel Observatory, one of the longest time-series in the world and important biodiversity reference site.

PML has been operating two data buoys in the western English Channel (at stations L4 and E1) since 1999. The L4 buoy is equipped with an array of sensors to measure both atmospheric and marine parameters. Data are collected hourly and then transmitted back to PML by satellite in near real-time which enables us to examine short duration events such as algal blooms and intrusions of riverine discharge which traditional sampling methods are unable to detect.

In 2013 a new buoy was deployed at station E1. The mooring is a collaboration between PML and the UK Met Office, sharing expertise to deliver a state-of-the-art multi-user platform.

The L4 buoy is available for use as a platform for technological development and making PML well placed to embrace the new era of increased automation in long-term observation programmes.

PML’s aspiration is to develop an Automated Robotic Ecosystem Observatory, consisting of a surface buoy with profiling capability; an Environmental Sample Processor integrating real time DNA analysis using a range of detection chemistries and a Chemical Sediment Profiling Imager for seafloor biogeochemistry.

For further information please see the Western Channel Observatory website.


Key contact

Dr James Fishwick

Head of Smart Sound Plymouth and Head of Operations and Technology, Western Channel Observatory - jrfi27/01/2021


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