In the TechOceans project, 9 new technologies will be produced and demonstrated in multiple underwater vehicles that will enable a radical change in biological, chemical and plastics monitoring in the ocean.
These technologies include 5 sensors, two imaging systems, a sampler and a new method of image processing using Artificial Intelligence (AI) that allows data compression and transmission of information on key variables from the remote ocean. All systems are robust and submersible to >2000 m and together measure at least 63% (12/19) of the priority biogeochemical, biological and ecosystem “Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs)” and at least 53% (39/73) of the sub-variables of these EOVs. The systems also measure litter, plastics, biotoxins, parasites, pathogens and organic pollutants of relevance to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, as well as fisheries, aquaculture and offshore industries.
(i) an in situ nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) analyser, including eDNA for quantification of species and genes; Lab on a Chip (LOC) sensors that will detect (ii) nutrients and carbonate EOVs; and (iii) organic contaminants and toxins detected with recombinant antibodies; iv) a primary productivity sensor using
time-resolved fluorescence; and v) a micro-cytometer (LOC) for micro-organisms and microplastics.
The imaging systems will demonstrate the new imaging workflow and will focus on benthic (seabed) and pelagic (water column) biology and plastic. The sampler collects up to 1000 particle samples and can be used for plastics, microorganisms and eDNA for further analysis (e.g. nucleic acid sequencing).
The technologies will be demonstrated at two sites (Naples, Gran Canaria) for science, aquaculture, fisheries, regulatory and industrial users. We will develop and use best practices and collaborate and disseminate widely with stakeholders and the international community, including by organising training events on ocean observation technologies. We hope to commercialise the technologies resulting from this project.