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UPCT develops underwater buoy technology to monitor the waters of the Mar Menor

UPCT develops underwater buoy technology to monitor the waters of the Mar Menor
Pencho Soto controlling the sensors of one of the buoys from his mobile phone, in a laboratory at the School of Industry. – UPCT

Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT) have developed underwater buoys in order to form a network for measuring marine parameters in the Mar Menor, according to sources from the educational institution in a statement.

This initiative makes it possible to record and send automatically and autonomously, several times a day, parameters of environmental interest in the lagoon, such as temperature, salinity, chlorophyll and dissolved oxygen, among others.

This avoids the need to travel by boat to take manual samples, with the added value of being able to measure the data at 5 depths each time and analyse the differences between the different levels of the body of water.

These buoys, christened NAUTILUS, have been designed and built by the PRISMA research group of the UPCT, specialised in the development of precision systems for agri-food, environmental and social sustainability and, after several years of development and testing in different environments such as the Real Club de Regatas de Cartagena or the Mar Menor itself, they are ready for use.

Six of these buoys have been acquired by the Murcian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research and Development (IMIDA) of the Government of the Region of Murcia and are awaiting final authorisations for anchoring and signalling.

“These buoys, which are not visible from the surface, will make it possible to have parameters from different cardinal points and at different depths of the Mar Menor at all times, which will allow us to continue improving the monitoring network that the Community has in place,” said the director of IMIDA, Víctor Serrano.

“The buoy rests on the seabed and emerges several times a day, carrying various sensors that measure the parameters at different depths, and once on the surface it sends the data using technology based on the Internet of Things (IoT),” says Pencho Soto, principal investigator of the project.

“The device has a dynamic control system that allows its buoyancy to be modified. This makes it possible to take measurements in different layers or strata of the water,” says Roque Torres, professor in charge of the PRISMA group. “This device increases the temporal resolution of the monitoring of the state of the water, allowing us to analyse changes in the Mar Menor with much greater precision,” explains UPCT ecology researcher Javier Gilabert.

 

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