Robust instrumentation for long-term ocean research
The AWACs, which form the backbone of the team’s in-situ instrument collection, were purchased over ten years ago. Since then, the researchers have used the AWACs in a variety of studies, including assessing flood risks at Playa Palmeras (Isla Gorgona, Colombian Pacific), one of the most important sea turtle nesting sites in South and Central America, and quantifying how a fringing reef at Tesoro Island (Rosario Islands, Colombian Caribbean) dampens waves.
“With only these two instruments, we’re doing magic,” says Osorio-Cano.
Despite being put through their paces over the years, the instruments and their readings remain robust.
“The longevity of the instrument is a combination of good user practices and good manufacturing. If the user takes care of the instrument, it can last for many years,” Molina explains, noting that the life expectancy of an AWAC is at least 15 years.
The researchers found AWAC maintenance straightforward.
“The sensors are very robust. We clean them very well and check the cables, connections and batteries. They are low maintenance,” says Osorio-Cano.