Development of a new expendable probe for the study of pelagic ecosystems from voluntary observing ships
- 1Departement DECOS, Tuscia University, Via S. Giovanni Decollato n. 1, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
- 2AQSmare, Via del Molo di Levante, 1, 00054 Fiumicino (Roma), Italy
- 3Maisoft, Via Ronchi n. 18, 24020 Villa di Serio (Bg), Italy
- 4ENEA ACS, Forte S. Teresa, Loc. Pozzuolo, 19036 Lerici, Italy
Abstract. Physical and biological processes of the marine ecosystem have a high spatial and temporal variability, whose study is possible only through high resolution and synoptic observations. The Temperature and Fluorescence Launchable Probe was charted in order to answer to the claim of a cost effective temperature and fluorescence expendable profiler, to be used in ships of opportunity. The development of the expendable fluorometer has followed similar concepts of the XBT (a wire conducting the signal to a computer card), but differently from the latter it was developed with an electronic system which can be improved and adapted to several variables measure channels. To reach the aim of a low-cost probe, were utilized commercial components: a glass bulb temperature resistor for the temperature measurement, blue LEDs, a photodiode and available selective glass filters, for the fluorescence measurement. The measurement principle employed to detect phytoplankton's biomass is the active fluorescence. This method is an in vivo chlorophyll estimation, that can get the immediate biophysical reaction of phytoplankton inside the aquatic environment; it is a non-disruptive method which gives real time estimation and avoids the implicit errors due to the manipulation of samples. The possibility of using a continuous profiling probe, with an active fluorescence measurement, is very important in real time phytoplankton's study; it is the best way to follow the variability of sea productivity. In fact, because of the high time and space variability of phytoplankton, due to its capability to answer in a relatively short time to ecological variations in its environment and because of its characteristic patchiness, there isn't a precise quantitative estimation of the biomass present in the Mediterranean Sea.