It’s official, the next location of the OOI (Ocean Observatories Initiative) Coastal Pioneer Array is the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) and the move will take place in 2024. The geographic footprint championed during the NSF-sponsored Innovations Lab #1 is the region of the MAB between Cape Hatteras and Norfolk Canyon. This region offers opportunities to collect data on a wide variety of cross-disciplinary science topics including cross-shelf exchange, land-sea interactions associated with large estuarine systems, a highly productive ecosystem with major fisheries, and carbon cycle processes. This location also offers opportunities to improve our understanding of hurricane development, tracking and prediction, and offshore wind partnerships.
As background, the OOI has been in full operations since 2016. The OOI Pioneer Array was designed to be relocatable, and in 2020 the Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board (OOIFB) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) launched a process to select the next OOI Pioneer Array location. A Phase 1 Innovations Lab was held in March 2021 to explore possible locations based on scientific questions of interest. The inputs received helped NSF make its decision to select the MAB.
A second (Phase 2) Innovations Lab is scheduled for the week of June 21-25. During this Lab, participants will work to further identify and refine the opportunities afforded by the new Pioneer Array location. Selected participants will be exploring how the Pioneer Array sensors and platforms can be optimized to achieve science and education goals at the new site, based on environmental, logistical, and infrastructural considerations. Partnership and collaboration potentials at the new location will also be discussed. The OOIFB, in partnership with Know Innovations, will again be facilitating the second Innovation Lab.
The ocean community is invited to help identify new design considerations that can enable exciting research endeavors at the chosen location. Scientists, educators, and other stakeholders are encouraged to apply for the Phase 2 Innovations Lab. Please visit the OOIFB website for more information.