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Glider Sensors to Help Study Impact of Flood

An ocean glider resembling a torpedo packed with sensors will soon be used to help determine how floods affect marine ecosystems in Moreton Bay off the coast of Brisbane. The robotic device will track the magnitude of the flood plume and assess its impact on marine life in the area.

According to Dr Andy Steven, at CSIRO, the floods help scientists understand the impact of huge inflow of freshwater and sediments on the prevailing marine ecosystem. The sensor will provide three dimensional maps tracking the impact of the waters from the Brisbane River flowing into the ocean. The glider will provide an insight into what lies below the surface in the mud and debris in the Moreton Bay. Data collected from these sensors will be used together with satellite images to help manage floods in future. While satellite pictures show surface patterns of turbidity and nutrients, the sensors will show what lies below the surface.

Researchers from the institute and the government have started collecting water samples to be used along with all the information being collected by the sensors. Study will also reveal how much the bay can withstand floods of this magnitude. Helping to assess shallow waters during a major maritime flood, the sensors will measure light, oxygen, temperature, salinity, nutrients, organic matter and phytoplankton.


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