Observing Systems and Sensors

The exploration of any ecosystem requires detailed study and observation. Even on land exploration can be a challenge. In the ocean, however, the obstacles are even greater. The ocean is the most complex, challenging, and harsh environment on Earth and accessing it requires specially designed tools and technology. It has only been within the last 50 years that technology has advanced to the point that we can examine the ocean in a systematic, scientific, and noninvasive way.

Our ability to observe the ocean environment and its resident creatures has finally caught up with our imaginations.

Certain tools, such as sondes, CTDs, and drifters, provide specific information about the ocean environment. Other instruments, such as satellites, provide generalized data from which a wide range of observations can be made. The information gathered from the instruments deployed in the oceans and the sky will help us answer many fundamental questions about our world.

If we are truly fortunate, we will also gain a better understanding of ourselves and the role we play in the complex web of life on Earth.