A selection of science topics

I thought I’d come back from the miasma with a selection of topics my fellow grad students are working on.

1.) Modeling dolphin whistles for the purpose of covert communications

2.) Internal tides-that is tides occurring between two layers of water.

3.) Measuring velocity fields using lasers and marine snow. (Marine snow is basically plankton feces)

4.) Sending autonomous underwater vehicles under arctic ice and having them return.

5.) Detecting squid by chirping at them.

And there are more of course, but these are the easiest to describe.

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  1. Wow. I’m still debating whether I want to be a Marine Biologist or not…if I ever do, then I will have to incorporate Genetics somehow. I KNOW that I want to do Genetics.

    The one on the squid sounds interesting…I didn’t know they could chirp. I have always been interested in the Architeuthis species and all of their genetic splendor…..

    YAY for Teutholigists!

  2. Of course squids can chirp. They have beaks, don’t they?

    Bur seriously, all that topics sound fascinating. Did they say how the autonomous vehicles will find their way without GPS?

    I’ve transitted through the Straits of Gibraltar on several submarines and we encounteded those internal waves. The salinity changes rapidly and the boat will sink like a rock, or rise like a balloon.

    Vera, what else did they talk about?

  3. Chew,
    I can’t say for sure how the autonomous vehicles would track their positions. However, I can speculate for you. Most likely, they are using a combination of redundant systems, all working together, to provide self localization for the autonomous vehicle. These systems will likely be composed of the following, but will not be limited to this list:

    1) multiple accelerometers, providing for sustained measurements of any acceleration changes along each of the major axis. These should be redundant along each axis, (preferably multiply so since accelerometers are notoriously inaccurate for certain functions. Having a group of readings along each axis will provide much greater precision after the data from the multiple inputs is properly filtered).

    2) pressure sensors of some sort.

    3) some sort of orientation correction and tracking method, (gyroscopes are always fun, but you can accomplish a lot just by the correct use of ballast)

    4) external signal beacons

    Now that list is by no means comprehensive. However the first two are almost certainly part of the solution, and I am fairly confident that even if all I had was (1) and (4) I could put together a sufficiently accurate self localization method for any autonomous bot. However, for ‘cost of loss’ sake, I’d prefer (1), (2), and (4) as my minimum baseline. Especially since (4) doubles up as a possible communications channel with the vehicle.

    Oh! and really, even if they don’t use gyroscopes (3), they would at least ballast it so that it had a predictable orientation.. That’s pretty much free if designed correctly so that solves a lot of problems too.

    Hope that helps, but if it’s not clear how that all would fit together just say so. (I did some work with autonomous vehicles for a brief period around when I was finishing my engineering degree. It’s a very interesting field and I would love to convince my current employer to do something that involved the technologies involved *grins*)

  4. Regarding squid chirping: I’m not sure if squid themselves actually chirp. My colleague’s project is sending a chirp AT the squid (or non-squid) and detecting whether the object is in fact a squid. It was inspired by the methods dolphins and whales use to find their food.

    Regarding what else was talked about: According to my notes: Turbo equalization and applying it to underwater acoustics, Parallel Hypothesis method for navigation for AUVs, acoustic scattering from shells, modelling wind waves, modal decomposition having to do with acoustics and math, mockup of a lateral line, techniques to send data to the surface from an AUV, metrics of buoyancy, scattering of acoustics off of seamounts, imaging plankton using digital holography.

  5. Thanks a lot. Sorry for the delay in thanking you. All these topics sound very Navy related, or at least, Navy funded.

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