18 February 2015

Sampling of sea water on Northern shores for algal bloom

Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) used "autonomous kayaks to collect sea water samples" from 4 large areas on our Northern shores on 20-30 Jan 2015.
From the MPA Port Marine Notice No. 6 of 2015
These samples are then "sent to NUS for their analysis. NUS Marine biologists require these samples for various research purposes, including the purpose of helping us understand why and how algal bloom in our waters and destroy our fish in the fish farms."



I was curious to learn more about the work going on when I saw this MPA Port Marine notice a month ago.

AUTONOMOUS SYSTEM EXPERIMENTS AT EAST JOHOR STRAIT
From Port Marine Notice N0. 06 OF 2015 dated 15 Jan 2015

Date : With effect from 20 Jan 2015 to 30 Jan 2015.
Location : Off Pulau Serangoon, Pulau Punggol Timor, Pulau Seletar and their vicinity, within the working areas bounded by the following co-ordinates (see attached chartlet above)

From 0800 hours to 1800 hours daily including Sundays and Public Holidays.

The experiments and collection of data will be carried out by deploying autonomous unmanned vehicles in the working areas. The autonomous unmanned vehicles will be launched from the work boat during the experiments. Operation and monitoring of these vehicles’ movement will be carried out from the workboats.

Further enquires relating to the project can be directed to Mr Tawfiq Taher, Senior Research Manager at Tel: 9423-9410 (email:tawfiq@smart.mit.edu).

On 16 Jan 2015 I emailed Mr Tawfiq Taher to ask some questions. Today, 18 Feb 2015, I just received replies from Pauline Teo of Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Corp Comms as below:

(a) Will your work impact our shores?
The autonomous kayaks that we deploy in the sea is used to collect sea water samples only. We are very far away from the shore. Work by the team has no impact on Singapore’s shores. Please see this video for a glimpse of our work at sea:
http://waveslab.censam.org/web/?page_id=67





(b) Is your work a preliminary study that will eventually lead to works or other impacts on our shores?
Our work in autonomous vehicles/robotics aims to provide Singapore the vehicle in which to understand its waters better. Essentially, these instruments (run on battery hence there’s no pollution) are deployed to collect water samples which are then sent to NUS for their analysis. NUS Marine biologists require these samples for various research purposes, including the purpose of helping us understand why and how algal bloom in our waters and destroy our fish in the fish farms*.

*Here’s some research work on monitoring algal bloom:
1. Sandric Chee Yew LEONG(NUS), Tawfiq TAHER(SMART), Pavel TKALICH(NUS), Nicholas M PATRIKALAKIS(MIT), 2014, Monitoring algal bloom [Oral], CRISP Workshop : Remote Sensing of Land, Sea and Air Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing, National University of Singapore Workshop, Singapore, 28-Feb-14

2. Sandric Chee Yew LEONG(NUS), Pavel TKALICH(NUS), Nicholas M PATRIKALAKIS(MIT), Developing a harmful algal bloom monitoring system in Singapore[Poster], 2014, IOC/WESTPAC 9th International Scientific Symposium- A Healthy Ocean for Prosperity in the Western Pacific: Scientific Challenges and Possible Solutions, Institute of Oceanography, Vietnam Academy of Science & Technology (VAST); National IOC Committee for Vietnam (Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO); Department of International Co-operation, VAST; Department of Planning and Finance, VAST; IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC),International Conference Nha Trang, Vietnam, 22-25 April 2014

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