Using Robots to Study Climate Change

When Oscar Schofield joined the Long Term Ecological Research project in 2008, he integrated glider robot operations into the project’s ocean sampling procedure. Oscar realized that glider robots could collect a thousands times more physical data than traditional approaches using a science vessel. The gliders Oscar uses for LTER science measure temperature, salinity and depth as they move up and down through the water column. When additional sensors are added to the robots, they can also measure currents.  They can also measure the concentration and health of  ocean’s small plants called phytoplankton.

Rutgers graduate students Ana Filipa Carvalho and Nicole Couto worked at Palmer Station in the West Antarctic Peninsula for the past four months deploying glider robots from small rubber boats call zodiacs. The robots were then navigated by Rutgers engineer Dave Aragon from the Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences on the Cook campus.

“We are really lucky to learn cutting edge science in such an amazing place” – Filipa


Graduate Students Filipa Carvalho & Nicole Couto on “The Bruiser” deploying glider robots


Filip & Nicole taking water samples


Filipa & Nicole taking water samples

RU students work at Palmer station

Filipa & Nicole at Palmer Station preparing Robots for deployment

oscar sees glider near gould

Oscar Schofield about to recover gilder in Antarctic waters

oscar recovers glider Antarctica

Oscar Schofield recovering gilder in Antarctic waters

oscar pulls glider onto zodiac

Filipa adn Nicole deploy

Graduate Students Filipa Carvalho & Nicole Couto recovering glider