For the first time, scientists from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (UH Mānoa) and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) will deploy a small fleet of long-range autonomous underwater vehicles (LRAUVs) that have the ability to collect and archive seawater samples automatically. Edward DeLong and David Karl, oceanography professors in the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) have been studying microbes for decades. They are collaborating with engineers from MBARI
to test new ways of adaptively sampling oceanographic features. A unique aspect of
these AUVs is an integrated Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), a miniature robotic laboratory that collects and preserves seawater samples at sea, allowing researchers to capture a snapshot of the organisms’ genetic material and proteins.