We currently have three ongoing projects. One project focuses on the physical oceanography (and meteorology) of coastal Georgia, while the other two projects focus on hydrothermal vent flows and plumes in Gulf of Mexico and near the Juan de Fuca Ridge.
1) Coastal Georgia: This project is part of the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research Network (GCE-LTER) (see our link on GCE-LTER: https://gce-lter.marsci.uga.edu/public/app/personnel_bios.asp?id=ddiiorio), created and generously funded by the National Science Foundation. To date, our team has deployed and collected meteorological, CTD and ADCP data at various locations in the GCE domain, from both shipboard and moored applications. Some of this data is currently available, while some is still in the processing stages. Our team is also focused on modeling the physical parameters of the Duplin River (near Sapelo Island, GA) to understand the exchange between ocean and estuary; this model is forced by observed data also collected under the GCE-LTER project. Our most recently completed goal, as part of this project, is the deployment a horizontal ADCP to monitor the real time flow of the Duplin River on timescales from tidal to decadal.
Update: 28 Feb 2017: Our December 2016 deployment of the HADCP was successful, realtime cross river velocity timeseries data of the Duplin River is currently being collected. Stand by, soon we hope to post a video of its installation and a link to the near realtime currents of the Duplin River.
Update: 8 Nov 2017: The HADCP collected its first data sample on 16 Dec 2016. The data record is near continuous up to now. Unfortunetly we did not capture the climatic event of Hurricane Irma as winds repositioned nearby powerlines. We are very close to posting realtime plots of along and cross channel river velocities.
Hydrothermal Vents: In the Di Iorio lab we specialize in Forward Scatter Acoustic Scintillation System (FASS) that allows us to make accurate vertical velocity measurements of deep sea hydrothermal vents that is not possible using other instruments. Our instrument measures coherent turbulent flow patters that when applied to hydrothermal vents allow us to quantify the contributions that hydrothermal fluids make to the chemical and thermal budget of the global ocean. FASS requires precise placement around a hydrothermal regions using remotely operated deep submersible vehicles deployed off large ocean going vessels. FASS has yielded valuable data on 4 successful deployments. Currently it has collected data over 2 separate tectonic plates, and soon it will be 3.
2) Gulf of Mexico: Our group is part of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI). “The ultimate goal of the GoMRI will be to improve society’s ability to understand, respond to and mitigate the impacts of petroleum pollution and related stressors of the marine and coastal ecosystems, with an emphasis on conditions found in the Gulf of Mexico.” (see our groups link on GoMRI: http://research.gulfresearchinitiative.org/research-awards/projects/?pid...)
See Daniela on youtube talking about our work in GOM: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJv9j78Esuo&feature=youtu.be)
The abundance of hydrocarbons in Gulf of Mexico (GOM) makes this study site an exciting place to acquire knowledge regarding the relationship between underground hydrocarbons and physical oceanography. In Summer 2017 our goal is to deploy FASS, 4 and 5 beam ADCP’s and CTD’s on the sea floor of GOM where naturally occurring oils and methane gases are emitted. We will characterize the vertical upwelling velocity of gas hydrates and its role in vertical transport of methane and oil to the surface, as well as improve our understanding of horizontal and vertical dispersal processes in the turbulent bottom boundary layer by making time series measuring of 3-D velocity and hydrographic properties near naturally occurring seeps. Our instruments will be deployed and recovered within a period of ~90 days. If all goes as planned our group will produce the an in-situ time-series of vertical transport in a bubble plume rising from a natural seep. We will use a model, forced by these observed data, to investigate acoustic scattering theory to quantify the bubble plumes at hydrocarbon seeps. This project will yield fruitful and exciting results that answers important questions which then generate even more.
Update: 28 Feb 2017: The summer deployment is moving forward. The 40m bottom mount mooring is nearly built, the insturments are currently being tested for functionality, and/or are ready including calibrations. We hope for a May deployment.
Update: 8 Nov 2017: Weather in GOM during Summer 2017 was not friendly. The AUV survey and deployment were postponed past the initial planned date. Before the instruments were deployed an AUV surveyed the study area (at ~40 meters above bottom (mab)) collecting bathymetery, water column echo intensity (to identify the locations of the oil and methane seeps), and the subbottom profile. The survey took place mid June 2017, the deployment took place early Sept 2017. We are tentatively planned to retrieve the instruments in mid December 2017 with the hope of aquiring 3 months of continuous data from all instruments. Rather than a methane seep as originally planned, we focused on an oily seep near the original Megaplume study site in the GC600 block. We deployed: 1) 2 deep water cameras to capture video of the oil seep, 2) 4 beam ADCP's with frequency of 300 and 600 kHz, 3) 2 - 40 m moorings with 5 CTD's placed at 9 meter intervals beginning at ~4 to 40 mab, and the 4) Acoustic Sciltillation Flow Meter to measure the vertical velocity of the oily plume. Unfortunatetly we were not able to deploy our new 5 beam ADCP.
3) Juan de Fuca Ridge: Our group is part of the Ocean Networks Canada, previously known as NEPTUNE Canada (see: http://www.oceannetworks.ca/). For this project, the technology of FASS has been vastly improved (through the help of ASL Environmental Sciences) with two major modifications. This instrument now uses reciprocal acoustic transmission at two separate vertical levels and will be permanently cabled to the seafloor near the Main Endeavor vent field offshore of the southern region of Vancouver Island, BC. The primary advantage of reciprocal transmission is the ability to resolve both vertical buoyant flows and horizontal advective flows, as well as improving turbulence measurements and speed of sound estimations. Being permanently cabled, battery life or data storage are no longer a concern. These acoustic measurements are essential for developing accurate and realistic 3-D models of hydrothermal vent plumes and their interaction with the ambient ocean.
Update: 28 Feb 2017: This advanced novel instrument is in its final stages of being built and tested by ASL Enviromental Sciences. We hope for a test deplyment on the ocean shelf to take place April/May and the final Endeavor deployment in Aug/Sept 2017.
Update: 8 Nov 2017: The production of the new FASS system has proved to be an engineering challenge. It is currently in the final stages of production. We missed this years testing/deployment goal, however, we are hoping for a successful deployment Summer 2018. We have plans for an ocean test in the next few months, this will allow us to operate the instrument with the transducers separated at a distance similar to final deployment conditions.