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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872


News from the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. . .

URI Acquires Coastal Monitoring Equipment
with $250,000 Navy Grant

Narragansett, R.I. -- April 30, 2001 -- Two URI scientists have been awarded $250,000 by the Navy to purchase a Remote Environmental Monitoring UnitS (REMUS), an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that will be used to map chemical sources in coastal marine waters.

Chemical oceanographer Dr. Alfred K. Hanson of Jamestown and ocean engineer Dr. James H. Miller of Kingston will use the un-manned, five foot long submarine-shaped vehicle to remotely detect, characterize, and map man-made and natural chemical concentrations, or plumes, and track them to their sources in Narragansett Bay and other coastal locations.

The REMUS will be equipped with Side-Scan Sonar, an Acoustic Doppler Velocity Current Profiler, an Optical Sensors, Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth sensors, and an external tracking system. The complete REMUS will be used as a test-platform for new oceanographic sensors and for field research on chemical plume dynamics in coastal waters.
"We are very excited about this new project," said Hanson, "because the REMUS vehicle will provide unique opportunities for URI students and scientists in the oceanography and ocean engineering disciplines to gain research experience with contemporary AUV and environmental sensor technologies."

Hanson and Miller expect to demonstrate the feasibility of automatically tracing and mapping chemical plumes, and detecting and localizing mine-like objects in very shallow water environments by adapting new chemical and acoustic sensors to AUVs. They are collaborating on this project with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

"This project is a synergistic one," said Miller. It combines oceanography and ocean engineering, chemistry and sonar. It has the potential to break new ground in marine science and technology."

The URI Graduate School of Oceanography is one of the country's largest marine science education programs, and one of the world's foremost marine research institutions. Founded in 1961 in Narragansett, RI, GSO serves a community of scientists who are researching the causes of and solutions to such problems as acid rain, global warming, air and water pollution, oil spills, overfishing, and coastal erosion. GSO is home to the Coastal Institute, the Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, the Ocean Technology Center, and the National Sea Grant Library.

Established in 1966, the URI Department of Ocean Engineering was the first of its type in the United States and is nationally and internationally recognized as one of the leaders in the field. The department, located on the URI Bay Campus, provides a challenging and diverse intellectual environment offering academic programs leading to B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees. The more recently established undergraduate program is one of a limited number of ABET-accredited programs in the country.

Contact: Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642, lcugini@gso.uri.edu

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