Home Articles Flood impact to be evaluated by CSIRO’s robotic glider

Flood impact to be evaluated by CSIRO’s robotic glider

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A robotic glider will be deployed by CSIRO in Moreton Bay, Queensland, to study the effects of the flood in the region.

CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) will deploy a $200,000 robotic glider in Moreton Bay. The objective is to assess the damage done by the flood in the region’s marine ecosystems.

According to Dr Andy Steven “the glider will generate three-dimensional maps illustrating the impact of the flooding on the marine waters receiving the flow of the Brisbane River.” This gives the scientists the rare opportunity to study how marine ecosystems react to massive inputs of water and sediments.

However, the glider will not be working alone. Satellite images and other data will also be used in the investigation.

“Satellite images can clearly show the surface patterns of cloudy water (turbidity) and nutrients, but a companion instrument – the glider – is required to provide a sub-surface view,” said Dr Andy Steven.

“This information will help us understand the dynamics of the flood plume and its likely effects on seagrass, fish, dugong, turtles, coral and other marine flora and fauna. It will also give an idea of the bay’s resilience after this extreme event.”

Moreton Bay is on the eastern coast of Australia and has an abundant marine life, including dolphins, sharks, turtles, dugongs and whales. On the aftermath of the floods the bay was littered with debris coming from the Brisbane River and several tug boats and excavators have been working to clean it.

This will be the first major study conducted by the glider though trials have been done in Tasmanian waters. A parallel research with another glider is being planned by SCIRO for the Fitzroy River – Keppel Bay region.

Image credit: Craig Macaulay, CSIRO

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