The ocean plays a critical role in atmospheric carbon regulation, particularly due to the carbon dioxide consumption and remineralization by the marine organisms along the water column. This phenomenon, also known as Biological Carbon Pump (BCP), must be well characterized so that we can better predict the future climate change and to accurately model the atmospheric carbon regulation. So far, the geochemical analysis of the ocean is simply done by intercepting the particles at varying depth by trapping the water. This, however, introduces huge uncertainties in modeling the BCP.

Minion float is a low-cost BCP measurement platform that will observe the transport and transformation of individual bioparticles underwater, which is often referred to as the marine snow. These floats will be deployed for a few hours to days to continuously measure the BCP relevant data at a particular depth. They will house diverse set of sensors, and in our group, we are building a stereo camera system that allows for a time-lapse images of falling marine snow. With these images, we can accurate measurement of the rate at which the marine snow sinks, in particular using a technique called Particle Tracking Velocimetry (PTV).

Team: Junsu Jang


  • 2019 March: Stereocamera system design
  • 2019 May: First prototype and microbenchmark experiment of stereocamera pair
  • 2019 June: Incorporation of the stereocamera onto the minion
  • 2019 July: First deployment of the minions in the ocean!