discussion / Marine Conservation  / 18 May 2022

Self-powered Buoy collecting vital sensor data -- Looking for conservation projects to collaborate with

Hey all! I work for a company called Sofar Ocean Technologies that is doing really cool work in the ocean conservation world and I'm interested in getting them to collaborate more and more with wildlife conservation orgs. Sofar has developed the world's largest buoy network (roughly 1000 buoys across the world's oceans) that collect vital ocean data (wave spectrum, ocean temperature, atmospheric pressure, etc). The Spotters themselves can be purchased and anchored along most coastlines, but the data collected by our network is also being used for research purposes as well as shipping route optimization. 

I'm currently working on a DARPA-funded Sofar project called Bristlemouth, that aims to be the "USB of the Sea". This TechCrunch article sums it up pretty well, but the gist is that we want to create a "Plug and Play" hardware standard that allows orgs with limited funds to not have to develop their own self-supporting marine data collection system. An org, for example, that has created a dolphin detecting hydrophone, could focus on building the hydrophone and eventually plugging into our Smart Mooring setup (as seen below). The hydrophone would be able to be powered by the Spotter Buoy and would transmit data (over Iridium, GSM, Swarm, etc) to the mainland. We're hoping that this will accelerate research and innovation within the marine space by not having orgs constantly "reinventing the wheel" and instead building on top of the Spotter ecosystem.

I'm curious to see if this tech could in any way help with marine ecosystem monitoring/restoration projects with anyone here on WildLabs. OceanKind, one of our partners for the Bristlemouth project, seems eager to use this tech for coral reef monitoring. Another org called Aqualink is already using our existing Spotter Buoy and Smart Mooring setup to monitor sea temperature in and around coral reefs.


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Happy to field any questions and looking forward to chatting with folks!