EGU21-8658, updated on 04 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Ocean Zooglider:  an autonomous vehicle for optical and acoustic sensing of zooplankton and suspended particles

Sven Gastauer1,2, Jeffrey S. Ellen3, and Mark D. Ohman1
Sven Gastauer et al.
  • 1Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, USA (
  • 2Thünen-Institute of Sea Fisheries, Bremerhaven, Germany (
  • 3NIWC Pacific, San Diego, United States of America (

Zooglider is an autonomous buoyancy-driven ocean glider designed and built by the Instrument Development Group at Scripps. Zooglider includes a low power camera with a telecentric lens for shadowgraph imaging and two custom active acoustics echosounders (operated at 200/1000 kHz).  A passive acoustic hydrophone records vocalizations from marine mammals, fishes, and ambient noise.  The imaging system (Zoocam) quantifies zooplankton and ‘marine snow’ as they flow through a sampling tunnel within a well-defined sampling volume. Other sensors include a pumped Conductivity-Temperature-Depth probe and Chl-a fluorometer.  An acoustic altimeter permits autonomous navigation across regions of abrupt seafloor topography, including submarine canyons and seamounts.  Vertical sampling resolution is typically 5 cm, maximum operating depth is ~500 m, and mission duration up to 50 days.  Adaptive sampling is enabled by telemetry of measurements at each surfacing.  Our post-deployment processing methodology classifies the optical images using advanced Deep Learning methods that utilize context metadata.  Zooglider permits in situ measurements of mesozooplankton and marine snow - and their natural, three dimensional orientation - in relation to other biotic and physical properties of the ocean water column.  Zooglider resolves micro-scale patches, which are important for predator-prey interactions and biogeochemical cycling. 


How to cite: Gastauer, S., Ellen, J. S., and Ohman, M. D.: Ocean Zooglider:  an autonomous vehicle for optical and acoustic sensing of zooplankton and suspended particles, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8658,, 2021.


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