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Instrument Development

The Institute of Coastal Research develops and modifies innovative sensors, instruments and platforms in order to improve the capabilities of its Coastal Observing System for Northern and Arctic Seas (COSYNA) or for observations of small-scale physical and biogeochemical processes. Many of the instruments are developed in cooperation with other research institutions or companies and are highlighted in this section.


Rationale for Development A cost-effective and reliable instrument was needed for unattended long-term monitoring of oceanographic and biogeochemical parameters in order to assess the environmental state of coastal waters, such as eutrophication or the carbon budget.

Underwater Node

Rationale for Development Continuous year-round monitoring of hydrographical and biological data with high-frequency and in real-time is required, in particular during extreme conditions, such as storm events or sea-ice. Because cabled deep-sea under-water observatories are not suitable for shallow water applications, due to high costs and harsh environmental conditions, the COSYNA Underwater Node System was developed. It was designed to allow the operation of complex instruments with high power consumption.

High Resolution X-band Radar

Rationale for Development A method was needed for the remote measurement of wind, waves and currents from moving vessels, and to monitor the bathymetry in coastal shallow water environments under severe (storm) conditions.

pH and Alkalinity Analyser

Rationale for Development The Total Alkalinity represents the ability of seawater to resist pH change upon addition of acid. Alkalinity and pH determine how much CO2 can be absorbed by sea water. For the assessment of the capacity of shelf seas to store or release carbon, a precise measurement of pCO2, pH and alkalinity is therefore necessary. A new sensor system was developed as no automated instrument for continuous alkalinity detection existed and pH methods were not precise and stable enough over time.

Nutrient Analyser

Rationale for Development Automated nutrient measurements are important for the assessment of the eutrophication status of coastal waters. Current nutrient measurement require wet chemical analysis with an analysis time of 20-30 min. An automated and fast analyser was therefore developed that is suitable for the use on FerryBoxes and the detection of small-scale processes, such as algal distributions of blooms associated with fronts.

Hyperspectral Absorption Sensor

Rationale for Development Conventional chlorophyll-a estimation with fluorometry is prone to errors associated with phytoplankton composition, physiological status, and short-term light acclimatisation. A continuous flow-through system was therefore developed for a more reliable estimation of chlorophyll-a from absorption. The absorption spectra are also applied to algal group detection for assessing changing taxonomic compositions.

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