Credit: Center for Environmental Visualization, University of Washington

The Coastal Pioneer Array is located off the coast of New England, about 75 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The Continental Shelf-Slope area in this region is highly productive. It serves as 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 to provide broader insight into air-sea gas exchange, including carbon dioxide absorption.

The seven-site mooring array spans along- and across-shelf distances of 9 km and 47 kilometers (km). Mooring sites are separated from each other by distances of 9.2 km to 17.5 km. Some sites have paired moorings.

Moorings are supplemented by six coastal gliders (dashed lines in diagram above), two profiling gliders, and two autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). Coastal gliders monitor the slope sea and outer shelf resolving Gulf Stream rings, eddies, and meanders. Profiling gliders are used as “virtual moorings” at the Central and Inshore sites in the summer. The overall glider operating area is 185 km × 130 km, roughly centered on the mooring array. Nominal AUV missions are two 14 km × 47 km rectangles, with the along-shelf rectangle intersecting the inshore end of the mooring array and the cross-shelf rectangle encompassing the mooring array.

For more information, check out the Pioneer Array related news stories.


This array includes following research sites and platforms.

KeySite NameWater Depth
2 Central Profiler Mooring (CP01CNPM) 130 meters
2 Central Surface Mooring (CP01CNSM) 133 meters
Central Surface Piercing Profiler Mooring (CP01CNSP) 133 meters
5 Central Inshore Profiler Mooring (CP02PMCI) 127 meters
6 Central Offshore Profiler Mooring (CP02PMCO) 148 meters
1 Upstream Inshore Profiler Mooring (CP02PMUI) 95 meters
3 Upstream Offshore Profiler Mooring (CP02PMUO) 452 meters
4 Inshore Profiler Mooring (CP03ISPM) 90 meters
4 Inshore Surface Mooring (CP03ISSM) 92 meters
Inshore Surface Piercing Profiler Mooring (CP03ISSP) 92 meters
7 Offshore Profiler Mooring (CP04OSPM) 453 meters
7 Offshore Surface Mooring (CP04OSSM) 450 meters
Mobile Assets (CP05MOAS) 1,000 meters

Research Themes