Robotic oceanography: Revealing ocean-scale biochemical structure with a deep-diving autonomous vehicle.
This manuscript reports on a robot called Clio that we developed to facilitate basin-scale studies of ocean microbial communities and their biochemistry, to better understand how marine microorganisms regulate ocean and Earth system environmental cycles. Clio is designed to facilitate global-scale studies of ocean biochemistry, to move vertically through the water column with high precision, and specifically to return sensor data and samples from large swaths of the ocean ranging in depths from the surface to 6,000 m. Clio is capable of flexible, precise vertical motion that few other ocean robots can perform, and none to our knowledge over this depth range. We tested Clio extensively over several years, six cruises, and 26 dives, it is now fully operational and this manuscript describes all that we did to convince ourselves this was so. In June 2019, it completed its first large-scale ocean survey, and for which this manuscript will be the first data presentation.