Sensors for the oceans

Luis Gonçalves
Electronics Department / CMEMS centre, University of Minho

Human society is expected to increasingly rely on marine systems, whether due to the increasing demand for food, energy or mineral resources, for innovative medical treatments based on novel bioactive agents, or simply because the oceans are seen as a privileged path for trading, transportation of goods and leisure. Impacts on marine ecosystems are expected as a result of human population growth and of an increasing pressure for obtaining additional resources. The knowledge about the natural processes that are affecting marine and coastal ecosystems depends on a wide number and type of variables, most of them are still insufficiently characterized.

Efficient monitoring based on cutting-edge technologies (lab-on-chip, MEMs, smart materials and underwater networks together in marine electronics applications) is essential to broaden the type, frequency, temporal and spatial scales of variables and type of habitats to be monitored. This development occurs in close relation with the Biology, Electronics and Civil Engineering fields. The effective monitoring of coastal systems will provide the ideal background for future innovation in Marine Sciences.

This will enable the anticipation of environmental problems and the support of adapting strategies for communities and ecosystems, increasing its global resilience, to protect our Oceans.