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Internet of Things for the study of the marine ecosystem

A research team of the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar (ICM-CSIC) has developed a new device based on the Internet of Things for monitoring the coastal waters of Barcelona. Through an antenna connected to the community network The Things Network, the devices can transmit data over long distances throughout Barcelona.

Sampling in the waters of Barcelona. Photography: Carlos Rodero García.The antenna can monitor the transparency of water in real time, which is a key parameter for understanding an aquatic ecosystem, since many species depend on light for survival. The physical measure used to quantify the transparency is the diffuse attenuation coefficient, which shows how fast the light extinguishes in depth. The higher the coefficient, the muddier the water.

The scientists have developed a KdUINO buoy, capable of measuring water’s transparency for less than 200 Euros. The results are very similar to those obtained with the reference oceanographic instruments which in contrast usually cost around 10,000 Euros. The intramural project of the CSIC ATiCO has funded financed the antenna.

The project involves society in the acquisition of observations

This development makes it easier for education and research centres with limited resources to develop their own KdUINO buoy. The project thus involves society in the acquisition of observations. For this goal, the team is planning to send in the future the collected data to Natusfera, a platform of citizen science similar to a social network, which allows to report biodiversity observations and, shortly, environmental observations.

The H2020 MONOCLE Project

The European project MONOCLE is currently developing new prototypes to measure the transparency of water. They are more robust and can measure in different regions of the light spectrum associated to the colours red, blue and green, beyond the photosynthetically active spectral region (as it occurs in the previous versions of KdUINO). The measures of the different spectral regions can provide more information, such as the concentration of suspended particles or their origin (organic or inorganic).

The Things Network is a community network that allows devices to connect to a decentralized open source network to exchange data between applications.