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Two weeks left to Support the OpenCTD and help us build an oceanographic tool for everyone!

Wow! Since we launched the OpenCTD we’ve raised nearly $4,000 to help develop an oceanographic tool the anyone can build. But $4,000 is only 40% of our funding goal, and we’ve got 12 days left to fund the rest of the project. If you believe in open source oceanography, think to tools of scientific research should be available to everyone, or just think a low-cost CTD would be a great addition to your research, teaching, or recreational activities, consider contributing to the OpenCTD. Even a few dollars will help us reach our goal.

Over the last month, I’ve talked to dozens of excited contributors with their own ideas for OpenCTD Projects. Here are a few of the most exciting:

  • Equip participants in catch-and-release fishing tournaments with an OpenCTD, so that they can take water column data and correlate it with presence of large pelagic fish. This would provide even greater insight into the movement, behavior, and migration patterns of hard-to-sample species.
  • Incorporate the OpenCTD into a SCUBA divers’ standard kit, so that your dive profile includes conductivity as well as temperature and depth. This would allow divers to discover local variability in the water column and correlate it with observations of marine life.
  • Affix the OpenCTD to commercial shrimp trawlers, so the fishermen can more accurately track the depth of their gear and determine which oceanographic conditions produce the best shrimp catches and the least by-catch.
  • Run an oceanographic “Big Year” challenge to promote open-source data by having private citizens compete to produce the most high-resolution data from a full seasonal cycle.
  • Put a CTD in every coast-, estuary-, river-, and lake-adjacent classroom, so that students have easy access to the tools necessary to explore their local aquatic ecosystems.

I want to see all of these projects, and more, come to fruition, but in order to make them happen, we need funding to finish developing the instrument. We have a proof-of-concept prototype, but through discussions with our donors and supporters, have developed even better systems to produce accurate, high-resolution data at low cost.

Marine science and conservation. Deep-sea ecology. Population genetics. Underwater robots. Open-source instrumentation. The deep sea is Earth's last great wilderness.

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