Website Update

Ocean Observing

For more than a decade, Cal Poly researchers have been building a regional ocean observing system that monitors the health of our oceans using advanced technologies and sampling programs.  This includes a network of real-time sensors that monitor the physical, biological, and chemical structure of the ocean; a harmful algal blooms sampling program; and a system of high-frequency radars that map coastal surface currents. These ocean observing efforts support research, education, and outreach at Cal Poly and the Central Coast. Efforts are supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS), and the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS).

Oceanographic Monitoring Stations:

Instruments monitor the health of our oceans in near real-time in Morro Bay and at the Cal Poly Pier. These stations monitor both short-term variations (ocean weather) and long-term changes (ocean climate) in ecosystem-relevant quantities like temperature, salinity, turbidity, chlorophyll, pH, and dissolved oxygen. 

Cal Poly Pier Data

Cal Poly Pier:

Morro Bay Mouth:

Morro Bay Back Bay:

    Contacts: Ryan Walter and Emily Bockmon (co-PIs), Ian Robbins (Research Scientist)

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    Harmful Algal Blooms Sampling:

    Weekly phytoplankton monitoring from the Cal Poly Pier is performed to detect a suite of HAB species along our coast. Weekly samples are collected and analyzed by undergraduate students along with senior research scientist Ian Robbins. The co-location of our HAB monitoring program with the shore stations provides a unique opportunity to link phytoplankton population patterns with environmental conditions.

    Undergraduate student sampler Madeleine Kwon collects phytoplankton with a net (left) and identifies different HABs species under the microscope (right).

    Learn More:

    Contacts: Alexis Pasulka (PI), Ian Robbins (Senior Research Scientist)

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    High-Frequency Radar for Surface Currents

    A network of nine high-frequency radar antennas spanning the Central CA Coast supports a national network aimed at mapping surface current patterns along our coasts, supporting US Coast Guard Search and Rescue, CA Office of Spill Prevention and Response operations, boaters, shipping, and other activities.

    Surface Current Data

    Contacts: Ryan Walter (PI), Ian Robbins (Research Scientist)

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