On Thursday March 3rd, more than 70 marine industry professionals assembled at HR Wallingford’s offices in Oxfordshire for the 57th Marine Measurement Forum. The day encompassed 15 technical presentations, multiple networking opportunities, enticing warm muffins and a tour of the on-site test & trial facilities.
Following a warm welcome from HR Wallingford’s Chief Executive, Dr Bruce Tomlinson, the first session, chaired by Dr David Todd of HR Wallingford, was opened by Dr Chris Minto of Optasense. His presentation outlined a new method for measuring wave height and tidal flow from seabed-mounted fibre optic cables using Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS). Tom van der Vlugt, Radac B.V. continued with the wave theme, explaining how FMCW radar can be used to measure wave heights, periods, directions and more. Professor Paul Taylor from the University of Oxford followed with a talk on advances in measuring the shape of waves in both deep and shallow water.
After a coffee break and some fresh pastries, Dr José M. Alsina from Imperial College London opened the second session by examining how modern physical modelling laboratories are making measurements of coastal sedimentary processes and exploring the advances and limitations in instrumentation for measuring sediment transport. HR Wallingford’s Dr Jon Taylor then presented on the procedure for measuring dissolved oxygen (DO) and the reasons why DO should be an important consideration when planning and executing dredging works. Charline D’Hoekers, IMDC nv, presented on a time series of field observations of scour made using a frame attached to a jacket foundation, before Louis-Robert Cool, dotOcean nv, rounded off the discussion on sediments by looking at a new technique to determine the thickness and strength of underwater sediment layers.
After a well-received buffet and some lively lunchtime discussion, Dr James Sutherland opened the afternoon session, chaired by Dr Jon Taylor, with a short introduction to the new EU-funded Hydralab+ project. This was followed by Dr Sean Gaffney, NOC Liverpool, who provided an introduction to the Marine Environmental Data Information Work (MEDIN) project which promotes the smart storage and sharing of oceanographic datasets. James Cowles, ASV, explored the potential for autonomous surface vehicles (ASV’s) to be used as passive acoustic monitoring stations in cetacean research and was followed by Peter Dobbins from Ultra Electronics Sonar Systems, who presented on turbulence and the positives and negatives of shadowgraphs, including their ability to (sometimes) see great distances. The first afternoon session was rounded off by Martin Stemp from RS Aqua who discussed his company’s new acoustic release and passive acoustic recorder units.
Following afternoon refreshments and more networking opportunities, the final session of the day commenced with Tom Hill, Titan Environmental Surveys, who spoke about the challenges and triumphs in charting and surveying a reservoir in Tajikistan. This was followed by a talk from Valeport’s Jim Gardiner who showed some excellent results obtained in Plymouth Sound using an autonomous winch to deploy a CTD for salinity and sound velocity mapping. The concluding presentation was provided by Ted Read, Ohmex Ltd., who introduced the HyDrone Remote Controlled Vessel (RCV) which aids in conducting bathymetric surveys. At the end of the day, all attendees were invited to take a tour of the HR Wallingford physical modelling hall and UK Ship Simulation Centre, with a chance to see the world-class Fast Flow Facility up close!
Dr David Todd, chair of the event, closed the day by thanking all of the speakers, adding “it is great to have so many interesting topics and candidates from such diverse fields of expertise all in one place.” Delegates expressed great satisfaction with the day’s proceedings and thoughts turned immediately to MMF58 which will be hosted by Plymouth Marine Laboratory on 14-15 September 2016.