OGS has developed and used over marine field laboratories a series of support vehicles for collecting meteooceanographic physical and geochemical data. Floating buoys have demonstrated to be efficient and flexible, but generally too costly to be maintained at the sea for long periods. More recently, OGS has preferred a new family of DeepLab Sea Floor Landers, with a stainless steel structure that allows to place scientific instruments at the sea floor. These stations are equipped with an underwater telemetry system with 5 miles range able to control the releasing of a subsurface buoy for the recovery of the lander. This has to be done at due interval to change batteries, verify and eventually re-calibrate the marine instruments, download the recorded data. In the current configuration DeepLabs are equipped with base instruments to measure temperature, conductivity, pressure, dissolved oxygen, pH, dissolved CO2, sea currents on the water column every 0.5 m and estimate waves height and direction. The shape, size and weight/thrust of the DeepLabs make them particularly robust and suitable for long-term time-series measures, minimizing damages and data loss caused, for example, by fishing activities. The modular design of power supply system and data logger, allows an easy integration with additional instruments provided by new users.
The more recent version of the DeepLab Sea Floor Lander has been used successfully to define the CO2 base-line survey of the Porto Tolle demonstration project in Northern Adriatic and can be a useful instrumented vehicle for scientific studies at Natural laboratory of Panarea. Panarea is a natural laboratory where thermo-magmatic CO2 is leaking at substantial rates from the seafloor at water depths ranging from 5 to 30 m: this area provides the opportunity to study gas migration in different structural and geological settings, to decipher the dynamics of gas bubble and droplet plumes, to understand the impact of CO2 on benthic organisms and marine ecosystems, and to test and improve CO2 monitoring techniques. Due to the unique characteristics of this site, the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MIUR) is financing the project ECCSEL Nat Lab-Italy, (as Italian component of ECCSEL), for the setting up of a permanent laboratory to give continuity to the studies that have been already performed there in the EU funded projects CO2GeoNet, ECO2, RISCS, and in other large initiatives such as EUROFLEETS and CO2Monitor.
Support in the use of the Deeplab Sea Floor Landers will consist in: planning surveys, acquisition of the due permissions for the areas of interests (sea natural laboratories), eventual installation of additional equipment, positioning at the sea, maintenance and recovery of data by suitable support boats, processing of the data, their upload to internet for a long-distance access, the access to Calibration facility at OGS Oceanographical calibration laboratory. Deeplab system was developed in OGS using know-how on deployment methods and processing procedure to obtain Oceanographic data time series developed and continuously updated by engineers, researchers and technicians of OGS in the last 30 years.