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Longboat Key Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2010 7 years ago

Mote's Waldo returns to Florida Keys

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Mote Marine Laboratory launched another oil-detecting robot Monday off the Florida Keys in collaboration with the National Resources Defense Council and Oceana.

Nicknamed “Waldo,” the autonomous underwater vehicle will travel undersea in the water column, an area that satellite imagery cannot access. The device gathers data every two seconds and transmits it to researchers every three hours.

“Like a storm-tracking plane that flies into a hurricane, this robot will tell us what aerial reconnaissance and satellite imagery cannot. Waldo can tell us where underwater oil plumes may exist,” said Sarah Chasis, director of NRDC’s ocean initiative, in a prepared statement. “The Florida Keys is a place defined by its ocean environment and we need to sound the alarm to help protect these resources from oil impacts as soon as we know oil is there. By answering ‘Where’s Waldo?’ we can help answer ‘Where’s the oil?’ and activate emergency response plans for this nearly invisible threat.”

Waldo was previously deployed in May but was returned from its mission when it stopped responding to signals.

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].

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