The Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOAON) with approximate locations for ‘ApHRICA’, a pilot project to deploy ocean pH sensors in South Africa, Mozambique, the Seychelles, and Mauritius for the first time. This project is a public-private partnership to fill in gaps for ocean acidification research in East Africa involving the U.S. Department of State, the Ocean Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, Schmidt Marine Technology Partners, and the XPRIZE Foundation and various research institutions.
This week kicks off a groundbreaking workshop and pilot project to install cutting-edge ocean sensors in Mauritius, Mozambique, the Seychelles and South Africa to study ocean acidification in East Africa for the first time. The project is actually called “OceAn pH Research Integration and Collaboration in Africa – ApHRICA”. Workshop speakers include the White House Science Envoy for Ocean, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Dr. Roshan Ramessur at the University of Mauritius, and ocean sensor trainers and scientists Dr. Andrew Dickson of UCSD, Dr. Sam Dupont of University of Gothenburg, and James Beck, CEO of Sunburst Sensors.
ApHRICA has been years in the making, starting with developing ocean pH sensor tools, engaging leading experts and raising the funds to bring passionate people and new technologies together to take action and fill much-needed ocean data gaps. Last July, XPRIZE awarded the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a prize competition for developing breakthrough ocean pH sensors to improve understanding of ocean acidification. One year later, the winning team Sunburst Sensors, a small company in Missoula, Montana, is providing their ‘iSAMI’ ocean pH sensor for this project. The iSAMI was chosen due to its unprecedented affordability, accuracy and ease of use.
“Sunburst Sensors is both proud and excited to be working in this effort to expand the monitoring of ocean acidification to nations of Africa and eventually, we hope, around the globe.”
James Beck, CEO of Sunburst Sensors
James Beck, CEO of Sunburst Sensors with the iSAMI (right) and tSAMI (left), the two winning ocean pH sensors of the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE. The iSAMI is an easy-to-use, accurate and affordable ocean pH sensor, which will be deployed in ApHRICA.
The Indian Ocean is an ideal location for this pilot project not only because it has long been a notorious mystery for oceanographers, but also long-term monitoring of ocean conditions is lacking in many regions of East Africa. ApHRICA will strengthen the resiliency of coastal communities, improve oceanographic collaboration in the region, and contribute significantly to the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOAON) to improve understanding and response to ocean acidification.