A new system lets SCUBA divers perform many measurements underwater with a precision similar to that possible in a laboratory.

Microsensors are powerful tools for environmental studies. These are miniature electronic devices that detect information about a specific variable such as temperature or pH. However, their use has often been restricted to laboratory applications due to the lack of adequate equipment for their deployment in the field. A new report details a diver-operated motorised device with microsensors for underwater work to a depth of 25 m.

The new device can accommodate pH, oxygen and hydrogen sulphide measurements. The system can be pre-programmed to autonomous operation or interactively operated by divers. Internal batteries supply power for up to 24 hours of measurements, storing up to 64 million data samples.

Three studies are discussed in the report. In the first the oxygen distribution in a sand ripple was 3-D-mapped. The second looked at sediment build-up on hard corals and the third oxygen dynamics in sedimentation.

Journal Reference: Environ Sci Technol, September 1, 2007; 41(17): 6210-5.

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