Page 35 - July2017

Basic HTML Version

JULY 2017 |
Mike was able to clean up the buoy, which allowed him to find the
serial number and an address. Easily spotted return information is
always a good sign that the marine tracking device has important data.
To report the find, Mike contacted Mexican CICESE (
Centro de
Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada
; English:
The Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education at Ensenada.)
He later received an email from an employee of the Marine Science
Institute who explained the purpose of the MicroStar Drifter buoy.
These buoys are part of a dispersion experiment carried out in the
western Gulf of Mexico in collaboration with Mexican (CICESE) and US
institutions (Texas A&M and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution),
to evaluate how a patch of a tracer spreads in order to get the physics
right when it comes to modelling spills of various pollutants, as well as
connectivity of marine populations via larval dispersal (the latter is of
interest for fishery management, among other things).”
Once Mike reported the serial number of the device, the data of its
journey in the Gulf was able to be traced. This buoy had been on an
eight month journey from the drop site. A photo shows the path the
buoy took.
Mike was offered a reward for returning the buoy, which he did,
although the true reward is the thrill that comes from assisting
oceanographers track useful data that can help protect the Gulf of Mexico.
Stokes Drifter
A Stokes Drifter marine tracker was recently found
on Crystal Beach, located on Bolivar Peninsula just
east of Galveston. The disc shaped tracker measures
about six inches across and is named for the Stokes
drift, the movement of ocean currents on the surface.
The Stokes Drifter tracker was developed by a Florida
State University researcher to trace the oceans’
currents and surface circulation. Surface currents are
tricky to track because wind can play a major role on
the trajectory of items on the surface and skew the
data. This particular drifter was made so that it does
not drift too high in the water, allowing it to be moved
by the currents rather than the wind.
The Stokes drifters will transmit time, position,
temperature, salinity, and acidity via satellite at
regular intervals if they choose to track that data. Like
the other marine trackers, this type is also used to
track oil spills, or it can track plastic pollution patches
or contaminated plumes to better understand how it
travels across the Gulf of Mexico.
Kate Newberry, the finder of the device, was able
to keep this one and her name will be added to the
website as the person who called it in.
Stokes Drifter found by Kate Newberry iN
Crystal Beach
Rendition of how a MicroStar Drifter looks
Images courtesy of Katherine Pollock