Researchers can now look down deeper into the ocean thanks to new technology

A new and more advanced system, the lidar, allows researchers to study even greater depths of the ocean from the surface of the ocean. It will allow better study of underwater algae.

  • Lead study author Brian Collister used the lidar system to study algae which satellites could not detect.
  • The researchers and scientists were from the Old Dominion University and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.
  • The lidar system successfully helped them study mineral calcium carbonate, gathering information about a bloom of coccolithophores (one-celled plant-like organisms that live in large numbers throughout the sunlit zones of the ocean)
  • The lidar system, was a great success as it was allowing the scientists to peer down a far greater depth than they hoped for
  • The lidar system works in a similiar way to echolocation that bats and dolphins use (echolocation is the process by which some animals detect their prey by calculating the distance based on the time it takes for the sound waves to return to them). The lidar system uses the light emitted by laser beams to study underwater particles. Then, based on the time it takes for the laser beams to be reflected back, and allow the scientists to estimate where they could be present and make more such observations
  • The lidar would be able to help researchers save a lot of money, as they would not need to stop the ship to collect water samples which contain the algae, thus conserving ship-time funds.

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