Ocean Changemaker: Berring Data Collective

We are extremely happy to share that Cooper Van Vranken has been selected as an ‘Ocean Changemaker‘ at the World Ocean Initiative, arranged by The Economist Group. Cooper is the founder of the Berring Data Collective. This is indeed a game-changer in ocean observing: Using fishing vessels to bring in high quality data from ocean regions where data is most desperately needed, including around Greenland. Check it out, it is already live!

Cooper was invited speaker at our online conference Ocean Data for Ocean Health in September. Afterwards he joined us for the follow up breakfast webinar on alternative platforms for ocean sensors. Cooper collaborates closely with Patrick Gorringe who works EMODnet Physics and at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. Together they make data collected by fishing vessels available to all users, including ocean and climate researchers, operational forecasters and environmental monitoring agencies. Cooper and co-authors have published their work in Frontier in Marine Science.

Sebastiaan Swart.

“Here for the long run”: SCOOT’s director Sebastiaan Swart’s expanding research at University of Gothenburg

Great news arrived late last year: SCOOT’s director Sebastiaan Swart was awarded 5 years of the prestigious Wallenberg Academy Fellows Prolongation Grant. “I think this makes it official, I am here in Sweden for the long run”, Seb comments. The original Wallenberg grant in 2015 brought Seb to Sweden from his native South Africa. Without Seb’s arrival in Gothenburg we would not have SCOOT today. We are extremely happy for his continuos engagement for the technologies that make ocean science more than a theoretical guesswork.

Seb leads a rapidly expanding research group, focusing on unsolved questions that make the vast Southern Ocean of importance to the global climate. The title of Seb’s Wallenberg fellowship is:”REDUCING FUTURE GLOBAL CLIMATE UNCERTAINTY: Regulation of the ocean’s heat and carbon by small-scale processes in the Antarctic sea-ice regions”.

AUV Ran before diving.

AUV Ran back in Sweden: Join the collaboration, tests and operations in 2021!

In 2019 SCOOT’s flagrobot AUV Ran became first to conquer the depths under the ‘doomsday’ Thwaites Glacier. In 2020 Ran’s greatest achievement was the mapping of subsea landslides in the 2000 metres deep Kaikōura Canyon off New Zeeland (read news at NIWA and see their nice Ran pop video below!).

Now Ran is back in Sweden, and as always SCOOT makes her available for entrepreneurs, innovators and SMEs. First out is a group of SMEs during an intense mission week in early February on the Swedish west coast.

Let us know if you want to join the collaboration/testing/operations, already in February and in the planned June session. We are not looking for AUV experts only. We are looking for anyone with ideas for utilising or collecting ocean data!

Ocean Data conference spurs collaboration!

September 29th at Nya Varvet and online

What a day… The conference Ocean Data for Ocean Health covered a lot of the themes SCOOT has been involved in the last two years. We hosted the event on September 29th at SCOOT’s space at Nya Varvet in Gothenburg, and we were happy to gather quite a number of old and new SCOOT people and partners.

The programme scratched on the surface of many urgent topics. SCOOT is committed to contribute to keeping up the momentum of this dynamic environment! (Just hosted breakfast meeting on sensors platforms of opportunity, see below.)

Especially intense for SCOOT was the final Block 4, demonstrating autonomous technology for collecting ocean data, see below.

Block 4: Demonstration of ocean robots

Autonomous vehicles

VOTO‘s research coordinator Louise Biddle and oceanographic technician Olle Petersson explain how gliders on and below the seasurface monitors the ocean.

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Next generation ocean observers!

Elsa and Jakob from the Science Club in Lysekil show their drifter Dynamene, built by Science Club and deployed in the morning, retrieving data live!

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Experimental platforms

Ola Benderius from Chalmers Revere lab and Robert Rylander from RISE Maritime research demontrate how knowledge from the automotive industry can be applied in the maritime domain. (Special appearance by flying drone from MMT Swden AB…)

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October 21st, breakfast webinar on tuna and fishing vessels

We were 6 persons having our morning coffee at Nya Varvet and another 6 joining the video meeting. Picking up from Sept 29th, we talked at some length about opportunities (and challenges) around data from tagged animals and from sensors mounted on fishing gear/vessels. Take home messages:

  • These data have huge potential to fill serious gaps in existing ocean monitoring programmes, where other and autonomous methods struggle. These gaps include shelf and coastal seas and marginal ice zones.
  • The cost-benefit relation is very good!
  • The infrastructure for collecting and distributing these data is rapidly expanding and maturing.
  • Challenges include subsurface communication and integration into existing monitoring data flows.

Recording from the meeting.

SCOOT’s flagrobot AUV Ran investigates the effect of subsea earthquake

This is really AUV Ran doing her thing: Deep under, manoeuvring close to the bottom, using her vast sensor suit to scan the environment. This time it is for the benefit of researchers in New Zeeland, investigating the seabed of the 2000 metres deep Kaikōura Canyon. It was transformed by an earthquake in 2016; 850 million tonnes of sediment were displaced!

We expect Ran to be back in Sweden in January. Every once in a while she takes a rest behind SCOOT’s office/workshop at Nya Varvet in Gothenburg. Please contact us if you want use AUV Ran or if you just want to take look. We plan 10 operational SCOOT days for Ran in 2021.

Register now: Ocean Data for Ocean Health

SCOOT proudly invites you to an online conference on the 29th of September, about sustainability and innovation in the blue economy. Registration has opened. We are very excited to host this event from our new sea-side space at Nya Varvet in Gothenburg. We will take the opportunity to show what SCOOT is about and how we see the future for ocean observations.

The programme mixes presentations by experts in AI, robotics, innovation and ocean data, with demonstrations of autonomous technology for observing the ocean. SCOOT’s flagrobot AUV Ran will be busy on the other side of the globe, doing work in New Zeeland. But we will show other exciting items, in the workshop and on the water! VOTO are keen to show the how their fleet of diving gliders works (successfully tested in extremely stratified Skagerak!), and rumour has it that MMT wants to use our autonomous Seacat as a platform for take off and landing for a flying drone. We also expect a visit by the next generation of ocean data collectors, from Gullmarsgymnasiet in Lysekil, where the students build their own sensors and platforms

Recommendations regarding social distancing does not allow for any visitors inside. But but if you are in the vicinity of Gothenburg, take the chance to watch the live demo on site, and chat with technicians and pilots. Starting around 3.30 pm.

The conference is arranged in partnership with Maritime Cluster of West Sweden, Ocean Data Factory Sweden and Swedish Maritime Technology Forum.

Uncrewed and autonomous platforms – but not robots!

Tagging elephant seals with sensors gives unique data from the ocean around Antarctica

At SCOOT we are enthusiastic about using robotics for collecting ocean data. The reason is simple: Sensors mounted on crewed platforms (ships) will never manage to increase the amount of data needed to observe and understand our oceans.

However, an uncrewed platform does not have to be a robot – it can also be an animal! SCOOT’s Louise Biddle and Sebastiaan Swart show in a recent research paper in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans what wonderful friends ocean scientists can have in elephant seals, even though these heavy beasts are not famed for their friendliness when approached…

Biddle & Swart investigate climate critical processes in the marginal ice zone around Antarctica, where the ice cover is advancing and retreating seasonally. This is a region where the lack of data is especially severe. Small sensors attached to elephant seals provided Biddle & Swart with ocean data down to 500 meter depth, including locations covered by floating sea ice. The data was retrieved by direct communication with the sensors over satellite.

For anyone feeling that the paper by Biddle & Swart is to heavy, The New York Times picked up this fascinating research in an article, doing a good job at explaining some of the scientific concepts.

We should point out that all scientific work with animals, not least mammals, is strictly regulated. The elephant seals are not harmed or effected negatively by the attached instruments.

AUV Ran cooperates with start-up company Marflow AB

SCOOT’s flagrobot AUV Ran is one busy two-tonne-piece of equipment. From the Southern Ocean to the Baltic Sea, and later this year off to New Zeeland. However, last month a window of availability opened… Startup company Marflow AB with founders Erik Nordborg and Glenn Hederot jumped on this opportunity.

Erik explains:

“Marflow aims to investigate and map ocean currents with very high accuracy. Precise measurements of the oceanic conditions in both time and space are valuable to us but indeed difficult to achieve in reality. AUV Ran will however allow us to do just that, studying ocean currents along with numerous other parameters with a spatial coverage that we have not been able to do before.”

“Marflow are very excited and happy for this opportunity to try AUV Ran and to discover what we can actually achieve with a tool like this. Before launching, Anna Wåhlin helped us setting up a course for Ran to follow. It was really impressive seeing AUV Ran navigating so accurately along this predefined route in relatively confined waters –all the time logging valuable data.”

Staff from MMT Sweden AB, attending to AUV Ran onboard (old) R/V Skagerak.
Evening work on AUV Ran, in between missions outside Härnösand, Sweden.
AUV Ran surfacing after mission, switching on light and releasing nose cone to facilitate recover. Outside Härnösand, Sweden.

Ocean robots: Expanding fleet and expanding competence pool

A new player has joined the ocean science community in Sweden: VOTO – Voice Of The Ocean. SCOOT is of course delighted that VOTO is a strong believer in automated methods of observations. VOTO has already a fleet of six ocean robots: 4 diving SeaExplorers by Alsemar and 2 surface going Sailbuoys by Offshore Sensing. SCOOT’s director Seb Swart and his team joined VOTO’s SeaExplorer course, read their report!

We will definitely hear more about VOTO and their ocean robots and the data they gather… 

Research engineer from Moscow wins the Killer Shrimp Invasion Challenge!

In March the Killer Shrimp Invasion Challenge was opened on Kaggle by Ocean Data Factory Sweden (coordinated by SCOOT): Use innovative machine learning (ML) solutions to predict the spread of the so-called “Killer Shrimp” (Dikerogammarus Villosus) into the Baltic Sea. The challenge is now closed , the referees have completed the evaluation and announced that the winner is…

Dimitriy, research engineer at IBRAE RAS in Moscow, Russia! Dimitriy nicked the winner’s place with a score of 0.99954 (out of a maximum possible 1) and by complying to all rules. Dimitry will be presenting his model in an open webinar on June 16th, see below:

The Benefits and Challenges of Open Innovation and Citizen Science for Solving Ocean Challenges through Applying ML to Ocean Data

Join us on June 16th for a Zoom discussion (Please register here):

  • 15:30 to 15:40 Introduction to Ocean Data Factory Sweden and afternoon discussion
  • 15:40 to 16:10 The Killer Shrimp Invasion Challenge on Kaggle: An online competition tackling the spread of invasive marine species through machine learning
  • 16:10 to 16.20 Break
  • 16.20 to 16.50 The Koster Seafloor Observatory on Zooniverse (still open to join!): Using citizen science and machine learning to annotate subsea imagery
  • 16.50 to 17.00 Concluding remarks