17 Jul 2023

TechOceanS partners convened for their 8th Executive Board meeting on the 6th of July 2023. The meeting aimed to review the progress of planned activities within each work package. Updates were provided on all Themes latest accomplishments and results since the consortium's previous gathering in March 2023.

The virtual meeting commenced with presentations from the Genomics Theme, who presented their progress including an integrated sampler and DNA sensor prototype for the detection of key biological parameters in seawater. This theme is taking a novel and innovative approach to the in-situ measurement of nucleic acid sequences, and reported on the development of new prototypes and plans for the remainder of the project, aiming to undertake ‘real-world’ trial of the technology in 2024.

Next to present was the Imaging and Optics Theme, who detailed their latest results. Cutting-edge advancements in pelagic imaging were presented including the simulation of Underwater Vision Profiler (UVP) images generated from 3D model specimens scanned in the lab. Such models can serve for generating (extra) training data for machine learning approaches in settings where data is expensive or difficult to obtain or where too few training data exists. Impressive progress was also presented in benthic imaging included remarkable real-time awareness experiments held in September 2023. These experiments showcased images captured by sea floor robots, and remotely transmitted.

The Microsensors Theme followed with updates on their suite of sensors including biogeochemical sensors for nutrients and carbonate parameters, and biological sensors for analysis of pollutants and genomics. Key results includedimprovements of general hardware including new pumps and valves, new reagents used in assays, developing instruments which perform multiple assays on a single device, and advancements in detection of multiple toxins and contaminants of emerging concern.

Following a short break, the Cross-cutting and Testing Theme outlined their plans for testing and validation activities. Including preparations for demonstration missions that will focus on aquaculture, built infrastructure (with relevance to offshore industries) and global ocean observing. Deployments are scheduled to take place between May and June 2024 in Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn (Naples, Italy) and in March 2024 in the Canary Region and PLOCAN’s facilities and test site (Spain).

Finally, the Dissemination Theme, and Management and Ethics Theme shared their work packages highlighting exciting training events, knowledge sharing and plans for future project meetings and conferences. The progress achieved and the sustained collaboration between all work packages was praised by project coordinator Matt Mowlem.

With all Themes detailing significant advancements in cutting-edge ocean observation and measurement technologies the project is making great progress into a new phase. The emphasis now shifts to demonstration, validation, and exploitation activities. These efforts aim to push the results further along the value chain and ensure that the final sensors meet the needs of end-users.