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Coastal Pioneer

The Pioneer Array is located off the coast of New England, south of Martha’s Vineyard. The Continental Shelf-Slope area off the New England coast is a highly productive area and one that is located at a dynamic intersection where ocean currents meet in weather-like “fronts,” and where nutrients, pollutants, and other properties are exchanged between the coast and the deep ocean. Data from the inshore, shelf area helps to examine exchanges between the shelf and slope and the shelf ecosystem, as well as provide broader insight into the issues of air-sea gas exchange, including Carbon Dioxide.

The backbone of the Pioneer Array is a frontal-scale moored array with three electro-mechanical surface moorings and seven profiler moorings. Each surface mooring incorporates a surface buoy with multiple sources of power generation and multiple surface and subsurface communications systems. Each surface mooring is anchored by a Multi-Function Node (MFN) on the seafloor. Two MFNs incorporate docking stations for AUVs. All three MFNs are capable of supporting multiple onboard (e.g., frame-mounted) sensors as well as external sensor packages connected by wet-mateable connectors. Five profiler moorings with surface expressions for data telemetry support wire-following profiling packages with a multidisciplinary sensor suite. Two surface-piercing profiler moorings use a buoyant instrument package capable of profiling from a few meters above the bottom up to the air-sea interface.

In order to provide synoptic, multi-scale observations of the outer continental shelf, shelf break region, and continental slope, the moored array is supplemented by nine mobile platforms – six Coastal Gliders and three AUVs. The role of the Coastal Gliders is to monitor the mesoscale field of the slope sea and outer shelf, resolving rings, eddies and meanders from the Gulf Stream as they impinge on the shelf break front. The AUVs are the primary tools for resolving cross- and along-front “eddy fluxes” due to frontal instabilities, wind forcing, and mesoscale variability.

Array Diagrams


This array includes following research sites and platforms.

KeySite NameWater Depth
E Central Surface Mooring (CP01CNSM) 133 meters
D Central Surface Piercing Profiler Mooring (CP01CNSP) 133 meters
C Central Inshore Profiler Mooring (CP02PMCI) 127 meters
F Central Offshore Profiler Mooring (CP02PMCO) 148 meters
I Upstream Inshore Profiler Mooring (CP02PMUI) 95 meters
J Upstream Offshore Profiler Mooring (CP02PMUO) 452 meters
B Inshore Surface Mooring (CP03ISSM) 92 meters
A Inshore Surface Piercing Profiler Mooring (CP03ISSP) 92 meters
G Offshore Profiler Mooring (CP04OSPM) 453 meters
H Offshore Surface Mooring (CP04OSSM) 450 meters
Mobile Assets (CP05MOAS) 0 meters