NHABON-NE, a prototype node for a national HAB sensor network in the United States


Sponsored by McLane Labs
Leader: Mike Brosnahan

NHABON-NE (National Harmful Algal Bloom Observing Network–New England) is deploying a fleet of advanced phytoplankton sensors and sensor platforms, adaptively and year-round, for improved harmful algal bloom (HAB) surveillance in New England waters of the United States. The project aims to provide unprecedented situational awareness and support for resource management decision making as the region is challenged by an expanding array of toxic and fish-killing algal species. Imaging FlowCytobots (IFCBs) are the workhorses of the network, providing continuous streams of phytoplankton cell images that are taxonomically classified in near real time. Environmental Sample Processors (ESPs) are deployed alongside IFCBs at several shoreside locations and measure particulate domoic acid when Pseudo-nitzschia spp. are present. Novel sensor platforms enable seasonal re-positioning of some sensors at strategic locations along the coast and offshore. Barges outfitted with a ROS-based sensor integration system called PhytO-ARM can be moved between inshore locations using trailers and are equipped with networked winches that collect CTD and fluorescence profiles alongside IFCB and ESP observations. Barges are also able to deploy and recover their own mooring tackle, streamlining rapid response efforts. Offshore sensing is made possible through deployments of a solar autonomous boat that has been engineered to support IFCBs (SeaTrac Systems, Inc.). Ongoing development of the PhytO-ARM platform aims to push data processing tasks to network edges, enabling deployments at locations where telemetry bandwidth is limited or expensive. All data and data products from NHABON-NE are distributed through an associated web portal called HABhub (http://habhub.whoi.edu). Additional data layers enable end users to view sensor data alongside model-based estimates of shellfish toxicity, NOAA forecast products, and current and historical monitoring data from state agencies. In combination, the project represents a functional prototype for one node within a national data system and network of HAB sensors under development for the entire U.S. coast. 

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