Mob-ing, UAV tests and tagging Molas

05 May 2014

Mob-ing, UAV tests and tagging Molas

UPorto biology PhD student Lara Sousa of CIBIO, working in the Tuna pen deploying test tags on live Mola. The objective is to test whether these tags survive in the open and to get a perspective on how the Mola's are likely to behave over time.
UPorto biology PhD student Lara Sousa of CIBIO, releasing a tagged Mola near the Tuna pen where CIBIO researchers have been tagging and tracking Mola's for a number of years. This year the number tagged for our experiment will be far larger than ever.
Lara Sousa of CIBIO and Tuna pen operators releasing a tagged Mola.
R/V Diplodus on the dock at Olhão with Frederic Py helping with its mobilization for a dry run test trip on Tuesday May 6th.
Experiment researchers hard at work on mob-day. Frederic Py, Margarida Faria and Renato Caldas of FEUP and PI Javier Gilabert (at right) bringing the portable FEUP  AUVs from the warehouse to the R/V Diplodus. Artur Zolich of NTNU on the left is handing packages to Zé Pinto on the Diplodus.
Margarida Faria of FEUP installing an AIS receiver on the R/V Diplodus. This device will enable us to know the locations of nearby (large) vessels when at sea and critical for situational awareness using FEUP's Neptus decision-support system.
Zé Pinto and Margarida at work on the antenna's on the roof of the R/V Diplodus.
Kanna Rajan and Zé Pinto also busy with the antenna's on the Diplodus roof.
Project Manager João Pereira of FEUP, looking up from the storage area of the R/V Diplodus.
Animated discussions about the provenance of a toilet seat cover disguised as a sensor package delivered to IPMA!
Details of the ostensible package pretending to be a sensor.
Details of the ostensible package pretending to be a sensor.
Diplodus captain Daniel working on the UAV landing net strung across the aft deck of the vessel.
R/V Diplodus captain Daniel working the landing net for the X8 UAV.
FEUP researcher Joao Fortuna about to launch an X8 UAV in a field nearby the farm house in Tavira where the entire team is based.
FEUP researcher Ricardo Gomes piloting the X8 UAV in an open field near the farm house. The X8 has been flying partly manually as its control parameters undergo rigorous flight tests.
The front of the farm house near Tavira where the entire inter-disciplinary teams of science and engineering folks are staying.

Monday May 5th was a busy day getting a number of Mola's tagged, mobilizing equipment on the R/V Diplodus and performing UAV tests.

With nearly the full team assembled in a farmhouse near the beutiful town of Tavira, the tagging team left for the Tuna pen at 4am while the rest of us stayed to have breakfast and either went to the Diplodus docked in Ohlao or stayed put in the farm house. Lara Sousa and Ana Couto headed to the Tuna pen while João Pereira, Renato Caldas, Frederic Py, Margarida Faria, Ze Pinto, Francesco Lopez, Javier Gilabert and Kanna Rajan headed to the docks in Olhão. A number of adminsitrative issues with getting Maritime Police permits for all to sail on the Diplodus was worked on by Renato and João Pereira. The rest started moving equipment from the IPMA warehouse to the vessel. The rest of the day for this team was hectic with preparations on the vessel (rigging antenna, testing communications and AUVs), dropping off a van, getting another fixed at a local workshop and managing to get a full fledged Portuguese mid-day meal of excellent fish.

[An important highlight for this group on the vessel was the rush of excitement in getting (what was thought to be long-held sensor/electronics parts by Portuguese customs) turned out to be a toilet seat cover from Italy!!]

Meanwhile, the UAV team of João Fortuna, Ricardo Gomes and João Sousa stayed back at our lovely farm house and found an open field and with the owners permission spent the day test flying and diagnosing a low-level controller problem with the X8. 

The end of the day found everyone tired but sitting down in the large living area for an all-hands, including Marina Oliveira (in Porto and over Skype) going over safety issues (paramount for this experiment) along with plans for the next days. Hunger finally overtook the deep discussion with people rushing to grab food (beer included) around 9pm with an end of day meal together.