The USV-Mission Atlantic unmanned vehicle arrives in the Canary Islands after completing a two-month scientific mission in Macaronesia

The Mission Atlantic’s USV-WaveGlider unmanned vehicle has been picked up by PLOCAN staff in waters of Taliarte after completing 1,200 nautical miles and 78 continuous days of scientific mission collecting 3D information on essential ocean variables (physical, chemical and biological), as well as map biodiversity and pressures in areas of special sensitivity in the North basin of the Atlantic Ocean. The activity takes place within the framework of the European project Mission Atlantic.

The USV-WaveGlider is an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) fitted with a science payload such as weather station (AIMAR), conductivity and temperature probe (Valeport CT Sensor), dissolved oxygen (Aanderaa O2 Optode), partial pressure carbon dioxide (pCO2 Optode) and echo sounder, as well as a pioneering sensor for monitoring and detecting fish and marine mammals (VEMCO) for selectively tagged species capable of providing new knowledge about their behavior and survival.

PLOCAN, a partner of the Mission Atlantic project, contributes particularly to this mission as a member of the core operations team formed by Escola do Mar, OKEANOS/IMAR, Maritime Robotics, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), by supporting the USV-WaveGlider piloting throughout the entire mission.

As a Singular Scientific Technical Infrastructure, PLOCAN provides logistic capabilities for the technical stop in the Canary Islands and the rest of the actions along the planned trajectory of this long-distance mission, which includes the first successful completed section recently between the Azores and the Canary Islands, followed by a second already scheduled through Macaronesia to Cape Verde and then to continue to Ascension Island, from where the last leg of the mission is scheduled to hopefully reach to the coast of Brazil.

Through the planned journey and related data collection, it is expected that the USV-WaveGlider can contribute to the expected impacts of Mission Atlantic in terms of assessment and modeling through the mapping of pelagic ecosystems, resources and associated pressures on which to develop assessments and forecasts, and thus increase understanding of the vulnerabilities and associated risks. In this way, the goal is to generate better and more accurate monitoring, modeling, planning, management and prediction capabilities throughout the Atlantic basin.

The Mission Atlantic project aims to develop and implement a systematic Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) framework at regional and basin scale through an intersectoral research platform between science, industry and political managers, in accordance with the Belem Statement. This framework will develop and apply existing and new tools and technologies consisting of a set of statistical methods, simulation models, machine learning algorithms and an ocean observation technology platform, in order to evaluate the dynamics of indicators at a regional and global scale. basin to analyze the development of Atlantic marine ecosystems, including future risks and vulnerabilities of crossing unwanted tipping points in relation to certain states thereof.

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