The mission of the Iowa Lakeside Lab is to provide science classes and research opportunities for university students as well as outreach programs and services through Iowa’s state universities. It’s located on West Okoboji Lake, near Little Miller’s Bay in northwest Iowa.
For some time, the lab’s professors have taught limnology to students using time-tested techniques and equipment like grab samplers, plankton nets and Secchi disks. But in mid 2015, it became apparent that it was time for the lab to take a step forward with its monitoring programs. In order to best prepare students for their future careers, more high-tech equipment was needed.
To make the leap, the lab’s directors obtained a new NexSens Technology monitoring buoy for West Okoboji Lake. The buoy, equipped with multiple sensors for tracking weather and water quality, is yielding valuable data for learning and research at the lab. The Lakeside Lab is also sharing its data with scientists worldwide through the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network.
Real-time data aids research at the lab
A NexSens Technology CB-450 Data Buoy was chosen as the ideal platform for West Okoboji. Designed to be deployed in a variety of waterways, from lakes to rivers or coastal areas, the medium-buoyancy buoy has the perfect construction for the Lakeside Lab’s needs. This includes the CB-450’s three 10-watt solar panels, instrument well for holding data loggers or batteries and passthrough holes to support underwater sensors.
Sitting on the surface of West Okoboji, the lake data buoy is equipped with a Lufft WS600 Multi-Parameter Weather Sensor. This is mounted to the CB-450’s top plate, and records data on air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction and rainfall. Next to this is a solar marine light that acts as a beacon during the nighttime to warn boaters of the buoy’s location.
Beneath the platform, securely deployed in one of the lake data buoy’s passthrough holes, is a YSI EXO2 Multi-Parameter Water Quality Sonde. It is equipped with smart sensors for detecting water temperature, pH and conductivity, as well as a central wiper that turns on a pre-programmed basis to keep all the sensors clean and ensure their long-term performance. A Vaisala GMT222 Carbon Dioxide Transmitter, outfitted with a probe modified for underwater use, is also deployed in a pass-through hole and submerged in the water to provide measurements of CO2.
Data from the Lufft WS600, YSI EXO2 and Vaisala GMT222 are sent to a NexSens data logger housed within the CB-450’s instrument well. From there, they are transmitted via cellular telemetry to a NexSens WQData LIVE Web Datacenter that allows teachers and students at the Lakeside Lab, as well as the general public and scientists elsewhere, to view statistics on West Okoboji Lake in real time. Data are also available via the LIVE Datacenter mobile app that allows users to set up push notifications to alert them instantly of environmental changes on the lake.
The NexSens CB-450 Data Buoy is designed for deployment in lakes, rivers, coastal waters, harbors, estuaries and other freshwater or marine environments.
The Lufft WS600 Multi-Parameter Weather Sensor simultaneously measures air temperature, humidity, pressure, precipitation & wind with an integrated electronic compass for corrected wind direction on moving platforms.
The YSI EXO represents the next generation of water quality instruments from YSI. The EXO2 sonde includes six sensor ports and a central anti-fouling wiper option.
WQData LIVE is a web-based project management service that allows users 24/7 instant access to data collected from remote telemetry systems.