BEACON/NOAA-PMEL Buoy Successfully Recovered and Repaired

In mid-February, the strong winds felt across the island almost wreaked havoc on a moored buoy that is part of the Bermuda Ocean Acidification and Coral Reef Investigation (BEACON) project at BIOS. Luckily, BIOS Research Technician Andrew Collins noticed the buoy at Hog Reef had broken loose from its primary fixed mooring line, setting in motion a coordinated effort to recover the buoy and its suite of scientific equipment.

In addition to supporting BEACON, this particular buoy is part of the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) Coral Reef Moorings network that makes regular observations of global carbon dioxide. The time-series data records that result from these measurements help scientists better understand the natural variability of atmospheric CO2, as well trends caused by anthropogenic influences and natural regional perturbations (e.g., the El Nino/Southern Oscillation).

The Hog Reef buoy provides baseline information on seawater carbonate chemistry for coral reef systems around the world, including Bermuda. The health and growth of coral reefs relies on the coral’s ability to precipitate calcium carbonate from the seawater (a process called “calcification”), which can be negatively impacted by increased seawater CO2 concentrations.

The BEACON project at BIOS is working with the PMEL carbon group to better understand the variability of seawater and atmospheric carbon dioxide on the Bermuda Platform.  The buoy at Hog Reef, along with a similar one at Crescent Reef, will provide information on how changing ocean chemistry and climate may impact Bermuda’s benthic marine ecosystems.

Dr. Andreas Andersson, co-Principal Investigator (PI) of the BEACON project, used the mooring recovery in February as an opportunity to service the scientific equipment on both the Hog Reef and Crescent Reef buoys, as well as to install a new mooring line on the Hog Reef buoy. Both buoys were successfully re-deployed during cruises to their respective locations on April 10 and 15, 2013.