Glider data from the southern Ross Sea collected from the iRobot Seaglider during the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer (AUV-SG-503-2012, NBP1210) cruises in 2012 (Penguin Glider project)

Version: 4
Version Date: 2015-12-09

» Penguin Foraging Reveals Phytoplankton Spatial Structure in the Ross Sea (Penguin Glider)
Smith, Walker O.Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)Principal Investigator
Copley, NancyWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI BCO-DMO)BCO-DMO Data Manager

Methods & Sampling

Continuous collection of temperature, salinity, oxygen, optical backscatter, and fluorescence data; methods described in details in Kaufman et al. (2014)

Related Refrence:

Daniel E. Kaufman, Marjorie A.M. Friedrichs, Walker O. Smith Jr., Bastien Y. Queste, Karen J. Heywood. (2014) Biogeochemical variability in the southern Ross Sea as observed by a glider deployment. Deep Sea Research Part 92:93-106. doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2014.06.011 (pdf)

Data Processing Description

BCO-DMO Processing:

- added conventional header with dataset name, PI name, version date
- renamed parameters to BCO-DMO standard
- replaced NaN's with nd's

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Data Files

(Comma Separated Values (.csv), 124.93 MB)
Primary data file for dataset ID 568868

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diveEntire ‘V-shaped’ glider dives from surface to depth and back unitless
julian_day_yr0Matlab serial date number; 0 = 00 Jan 0000 00:00:00 unitless
ISO_DateTime_UTCDate/Time (UTC) ISO formatted; based on ISO 8601:2004(E) 2009-08-30T14:05:00[.xx]Z (UTC time)
lonlongitude; east is positive decimal degrees
latlatitude; north is positive decimal degrees
depthDepth from pressure; GSW (Gibbs SeaWater Oceanographic) Toolbox1 meters
tempTemperature degrees Celsius
salPractical salinity from conductivity; GSW Toolbox1 PSU
sigma_0Potential density anomaly: potential density minus 1000 kg/m3 from absolute salinity and potential temperature; GSW Toolbox1 kilograms/meter^3
fluorFluorescence counts counts
chl_rawChlorophyll estimated from fluorescence counts using the chlorophyll regression from Kaufman et al. 2014 milligram/meter^3
bbp700Total volume scattering at 700 nm /m/square radian
bbp470Total volume scattering at 470 nm /m/square radian
POCParticulate organic carbon estimated from optical backscattering measurements (see Jones MS thesis; College of William and Mary; 2015) mg C/m3
O2_calOxygen concentration; corrected for oxygen optode instrument time lag umol/kg
O2_sat_pcntAir saturation; corrected for oxygen optode instrument time lag percent

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Dataset-specific Instrument Name
Generic Instrument Name
Dataset-specific Description
Southern Ross Sea, bounded by -77.438 and 167.73E, and extending to 76.771 and 171.98E; the glider made repeated short transects in a restricted area using a repeated bow-tie?/V-shaped? pattern.
Generic Instrument Description
The Seaglider is an autonomous underwater vehicle developed through a collaboration between The Applied Physics Laboratory -University of Washington and the University of Washington School of Oceanography. These small, free-swimming vehicles can gather conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) data from the ocean for months at a time and transmit it to shore in near-real time via satellite data telemetry. Seagliders make oceanographic measurements traditionally collected by research vessels or moored instruments. They can survey along a transect, profile at a fixed location, and can be commanded to alter their sampling strategies throughout a mission.

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iRobot Seaglider
Start Date
End Date
Glider made dives in short sections in a small area in the Ross Sea.


RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer
Start Date
End Date
Seaglider AUV-SG-503-2012 was recovered on this cruise.

Methods & Sampling
NBP1210 picked up Seaglider AUV-SG-503-2012.

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Project Information

Penguin Foraging Reveals Phytoplankton Spatial Structure in the Ross Sea (Penguin Glider)

Coverage: Southern Ross Sea in a restricted region near Ross Island

Description from NSF award abstract:
The Ross Sea is believed to contributes a huge portion (~1/3) of the primary productivity of the Southern Ocean and is home to a similar large portion of the top predators (e.g. 38% of Adelie, 28% of Emperor penguins) of the Antarctic sea ice ecosystem. The trophic pathways in this system are complex in both space and time. One scenario for the Ross Sea ecosystem is that diatoms are grazed by krill, which are in turn the preferred food of fish, penguins and other predators. Phaeocystis colonies, on the other hand lead to grazing by pteropods and other organisms that are a non-favoured food source for top predators. Remotely sensed chlorophyll, indicating all phytoplankton, is then suggested to be a relatively poor predictor of penguin foraging efforts. This is also consistent with notion that algal species composition is very important to penguin grazing pressure, mediated by krill, and perhaps resulting in selective depletion.

This collaborative research sets out to use an autonomous glider, equipped with a range of sensors, and informed by satellite chlorophyll imagery to be combined with 3-dimenisonal active penguin tracking to their preferred foraging sites. The effect of localized grazing pressure of krill on the appearance and disappearance of algal blooms will also be followed. Overall the objective of the research is to reconcile and explain several years of the study of the foraging habits and strategies of (top predator) penguins at the Cape Crozier site (Ross Island), with the dynamics of krill and their supporting algal food webs. The use of a glider to answer a primarily ecological questions is subject to moderate to high risk, and is potentially transformative.

Related publications:
Ainley DG, Ballard G, Jones RM, Jongsomjit D, Pierce SD, Smith WO Jr, Veloz S. 2015. Trophic cascades in the western Ross Sea, Antarctica: revisited. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 534:1-16. doi:10.3354/meps11394

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Funding SourceAward
NSF Office of Polar Programs (formerly NSF PLR) (NSF OPP)

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