Instrument: BIo-Optical Multi-frequency Acoustical and Physical Environmental Recorder II

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BIOMAPER II is a set of sensors on a long aluminum frame that resembles the tail of a World War II airplane. A research vessel tows the instrument through the water on a specialized tow cable that sends power to the sensors and brings data back to the ship. People use BIOMAPER II to learn about phytoplankton and zooplankton over areas that are too large to study with the traditional net-and-microscope method. Whereas nets can sample areas up to about 5 meters (16 feet) on a side, BIOMAPER II can record data from 500 meters (1,640 feet) or more of the water column at a time. The instrument's standard suite of sensors were chosen for studying plankton: a five-frequency sonar system, a video plankton recorder and an environmental sensor system (ESS, like the one on MOCNESS). The ESS measures water temperature, salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll and light levels. BIOMAPER II also has room for attaching other instruments for specific uses. The instrument's official name is BIOMAPER-II: the BIo-Optical Multi-frequency Acoustical and Physical Environmental Recorder. The Roman numeral II indicates that it's a redesign of the original BIOMAPER, a prototype that was invented and tested in the mid 1990s. (more information).