Cefas has successfully launched its Wave Glider “Lyra” from St Ives on Monday, the first ever independent launch of a Wave Glider SV3 in the UK.
Lyra is a US-manufactured Wave Glider SV3 and is one of just two currently in the UK. She is taking two days to sail unmanned to the Isles of Scilly, where she will join other autonomous vehicles to take part in an exciting project bringing together the UK’s leading marine science organisations, before heading out to the Atlantic Shelf Edge.
During her maiden voyage she will be taking measurements to assess the size of the Autumn phytoplankton bloom off SW England. Cefas scientists can remotely pilot Lyra to specific areas of interest, plankton blooms, spills/pollution, etc. Cefas also plans to use her for monitoring and recording underwater noise (from whales and dolphins and man-made sources), measuring water currents flowing around the coast and be part of a developing strategy to monitor complete ecosystems. The use of an autonomous wave powered Wave Glider will enable Cefas to undertake testing and monitoring much more efficiently and sustainably.
During this and subsequent missions, Cefas will use Lyra to collect live data every 30 minutes and send them back via satellite to Cefas’ HQ in Lowestoft. Cefas Scientists will then use the data collected (including salinity, temperature, chlorophyll, oxygen, and turbidity) to assess the health of UK marine waters as part of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
Dr David Pearce, Wave Glider Project Leader said: “Lyra’s maiden voyage has been months in the planning. Her journey to the Isles of Scilly will be an opportunity to test her ability to navigate in busy waters and is not without risk, but we are confident that her technology and the Cefas team will ensure she reaches her destination.”