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River Estuary Coastal Observing Network (RECON) is composed of seven Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory (LOBO) sensors and one mobile unit. Originally developed by Dr. Ken Johnson's team at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and now commercially available from Satlantic, the Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory was designed to create a real time sensor network for aquatic systems. Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory uses a system of high quality, high temporal resolution in situ sensors to monitor fluxes. Water properties such as salinity, temperature, and current velocity are combined with nutrient measurements to monitor important processes that affect biogeochemistry.

Parameters measured by the RECON:

The system uses robust, high accuracy, high stability sensors with integrated antibiofouling systems to maximize deployment time, minimize operational costs and provide high quality data sets. The sensor suite includes the WET Labs WQM instrument with an ECO series fluorometer and turbidity sensor with integrated bio-wiperâ„¢, integrated CTD and dissolved oxygen sensors with a comprehensive antifouling system (including copper cladding, a bleach injection system and a Tributyltin module) all designed to greatly extend deployment times in coastal environments. The system also includes the Satlantic ISUS chemical-free nitrate sensor, which is pumped from the WQM to maximize antifouling capabilities. Water velocity profiles are collected using the Nortek Aquadopp.

The Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory has been extensively tested in a wide range of extreme water quality conditions for three years with a network of five systems in the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. Online real-time and archived data are available at MBARI. The system addresses specific resource management concerns of the NERRS, such as degraded coastal water quality, loss and alteration of estuarine and watershed habitat, habitat restoration, reduction of biodiversity, and problematic effects of pollution and invasive species.

The initial RECON deployment has demonstrated how a real time aquatic sensor network can significantly increase our ability to address these issues and contribute to the generation of information that leads to sound resource management. The ability to study the interactions of the hydrologic cycle, nutrient chemical cycles and human alterations of these cycles at the land/ocean interface is a fundamental component of coastal zone management, and one that has traditionally been a major scientific challenge.

A significant component of the RECON system is LOBOviz, a data visualization and display package for an entire network of monitoring sites. This powerful tool allows users to access and view real time or archived data, comparing multiple sensors at a site or multiple sites simultaneously though a simple web interface. This gives system users rapid and easy access to the monitoring network to help make informed decisions.