Travel: Symposium on Advances in Ocean Observation

Lead PI: Dr. Ajit Subramaniam

Unit Affiliation: Biology and Paleo Environment, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

March 2022 - February 2023
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: This project supports a symposium with a novel format which brings together a small (~30 people) yet highly motivated group of experts focusing on smarter methods in ocean observation. The primary aim of the symposium is using convergence science to catalyze active discussion between marine scientists and technologists and generate actionable ideas with a central focus on bringing computational and robotic intelligence to ocean observation. This will make connections for ideation to advance observation methods at various levels (national, international), during this UN Decade of the Oceans (UN 2021). This will hopefully help marine scientists understand and leverage advances in robotics and computer science and help technologists advance their science and problem solving methods to have a real societal impact with the ultimate goal of advancing the state of ocean science and our understanding of the world’s ocean. The symposium will bring together researchers from diverse backgrounds and career stages, who might not have any reason (or incentive) to interact outside their siloed environments. In other words, this effort is a form of persuasion to collaborate across disciplinary and geographic boundaries. While the latter continues to be a challenge, the anticipation is that methods in trans-national collaboration will be provided by agencies in the US and Europe during this UN Decade. The organizers expect to produce a manuscript with all participants as co-authors to expose the ideas and concepts discussed at the symposium to the larger ocean science, robotics and computer science communities.

Ocean science is a highly inter-disciplinary field. Yet it’s practice in the field, especially in the context of observational methods, continue to be hobbled by a mismatch between the spatial and temporal scales of observation and processes in a dynamic and harsh environment. The disconnect between the reality on the ground, the advances that have been made in the computational and robotic sciences, and the actual needs in ocean science are stark and at the heart of what the Azores Symposium aims to address. The principal focus of this meeting therefore is convergence science to address the gaps between the science needs and the available technologies. Since ocean science is a vast field, the core domain this symposium will focus on, is the upper water-column biogeochemistry and physics. The meeting will be highly transdisciplinary with leading experts from across Europe and the US. The meeting will have an atypical method of interaction that is augmented by more probing participation. The organizers intend to use a highly participatory approach used by the Cognitive Science community. Also, in this Decade of the Ocean, it provides a distinct foci for scientists and technologists to make a coherent thrust in working together to make concrete progress in observational methods. In large part this is doable, because of the maturity and advances in computational and robotic sciences, which leverage decades of funding in the US and Europe.


National Science Foundation




ocean science


Earth fundamentals