Theme 1


Nucleic Acids

Nucleic Acids (NAs, including DNA and RNA) can be used to survey and monitor the types and functional capacities (including those that pose risks to humans and industries such as aquaculture) of all organisms.

Ecogenomic Samplers

Ecogenomic Samplers allow researchers to process samples of ocean water in situ in order to identify the presence or absence of different organisms.

Theme 2

Imaging and Optics


The improvement in underwater optics has revealed a new limitation on undersea imagery – images are now too large to transmit over available acoustic and satellite bandwidths. This means they require either a tether or physical recovery to offload the terabytes of image data they collect, and, once recovered, image analysis requires labour-intensive manual verification by a taxonomy specialist. The human effort limits the information throughput and introduces latencies of months to years.


To fully exploit the capability of emerging optical devices and provide global ocean coverage, there is a need to decrease the size and power consumption requirements of commercial devices and develop robust, calibrated end-to-end workflows that allow integration on a wide range of autonomous vehicles.

Theme 3



Over the last 20 years, flow cytometric analysis of phytoplankton based on chlorophyll fluorescence and scattered light has enabled their enumeration and quantification, with a degree of taxonomic discrimination. Yet despite the wealth of data provided by these instruments, the scarcity of sampling is either limited to on-ship or confined to discrete geographical points. For widespread deployment, the instrument needs to be small, consume a few watts of power and be capable of operating at depth.

Biological sensors

Quantifying marine pollutants in the ocean is becoming increasingly important as anthropogenic activities continue to fundamentally change our marine environment. Current approaches for monitoring such targets require spot samples and analytical separations, complex fluid handling and sub-zero reagent storage, yet this approach does not allow for (near) real-time monitoring. Delays between sampling and analysis make for unrepresentative results; and a lack of automation requires high levels of effort in personnel, ships, and labs to acquire and process samples.

Biogeochemical sensors

Macro-nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, silicon) are essential for the growth of aquatic organisms and of key importance to understanding biogeochemical cycling. Measurements of their dominant inorganic forms are routine in oceanographic studies, they are included in models of the global climate and carbon systems, and they also feed into ecosystem and fisheries models. The importance of the oceanic distribution of these variables requires systematic investigations of high spatial-temporal resolution, which cannot be achieved through ship-based measurements alone.

Theme 4

Cross-Cutting and Testing

Best Practices

Synchronised best practice development for cross-cutting themes in complex technological and scientific fields is a substantial challenge. Disciplinary boundaries, varying terminologies, and inaccessibility of key methods in metrology, uncertainty quantification, performance diagnostics and quality control / assurance are major impediments to scalable progress. Since 2018, the IOC-UNESCO Ocean Best Practices System (OBPS) has intensified efforts to create a technological and community-based solution to address such issues, combining a long-term archive of methodological documents with natural language processing and semantic technologies to promote dissemination, interaction, and alignment of best practices across the ocean value chain.

Prototype Testing

For testing and demonstration, TechOceanS has selected two different sites, the Canary Region (PLOCAN) and the official augmented observatory of the EuroSea project at Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn (SZN), Naples, which offer coastal and open ocean environments with a range of anthropogenic influences, to demonstrate fully the application of this new technology whilst maximising scientific output and value for money.

Cross-Cutting Sensor Integration

Lab-on-chip and imaging sensors developed in Themes 1-3 will be integrated and made available for harmonious functioning across a variety of deployable platforms, such as Automated Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) and sea gliders.