Marine Instant Wild – All packed and off to Diego Garcia via Singapore… JUST!

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Talk about last minute but we made it! We gave our Marine Fabricator 2 weeks to build 3 navigation buoys, steel boxes for the batteries and frames for the camera. When we were talking about the project the buoys were in stock but by the time we got the order together and confirmed they were out of stock so there was pressure to even get those on time from a very busy external rotational moulding facility.

We could have had them quicker and cheaper if they were not foam filled but with the amount of expensive equipment this was a definite requirement.

So on the day where by the equipment needed to be at a depot at Heathrow Airport at 8pm the Marine Fabricators were working through the night having only just got the stainless steel boxes cut and delivered the day before for assembly.

When I arrived I noticed a problem, the camera frames were too short and a mix up on my part meant spending the morning re-fabricating the frames with a new design. By 6pm we were packed and ready to go with a 2 hour journey and no lunch (running on adrenalin by now!) we headed off in rush hour. We literally JUST made it to the depot in time… HOWEVER…

The boat from Singapore to Diego Garcia left in 4 days, if we didn’t make Singapore today it was unlikely the goods would have been able to have been inspected and repacked in time. The only other option was another boat at the end of January which may or may not have made the expedition depending on weather or other external delays – it was imperative to try and get on the journey in December!

So what was the hold up? Well the metal work was too dense to get X-rayed so it needed a sniffer dog test – we had to wait a day for this, it gave one day at the other end to inspect and re-pack. Then another disaster the equipment was too heavy it missed 2 flights as Christmas present goods took precedence.

We got the bad news from Singapore to tell us that we wouldn’t make it on the ship, then a few hours later we got an email saying we managed to get rush it on… what a sigh of relief!

Had we have had more time I would have like to have done this completely differently (we shipped over a ton of materials!) but our options were limited to say the least, it certainly was cutting it fine!

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Potting Cables With Epoxy

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We had our first go at experimenting with potting the waterproof gland and cable connections with epoxy for the waterproof enclosure today. We stripped the ethernet cable plastic back with a scalpel to expose the copper then separating the wires through a plastic disk. Meanwhile the steel wire armour was enclosed between two M20 washers to hold it out of the way.

Unfortunately the wires are very brittle and we will need to re-think this with a junction box and without the toilet roll epoxy container, but it was a slight rush to get something together.

Many thanks to Richard, Barnaby and Paul who done a 2am stint with me at Reading HackSpace to put this intial prototype together!

Marine Instant Wild – Reading Hackspace

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So Marine Instant Wild is underway and one of the first things to do was source an underwater enclosure, we could have purchased one which would have had to have been fabricated and would have cost a small fortune but we thought we would reach out to the community and Reading Hackspace stood up – so we decided to build our own!

Ryan White who builds underwater systems that reach depths of 6000 meters for a living offered his help right through design stage to prototype production.

Here’s a quick intro from Ryan at the HackSpace.

RCUK – Using marine microprocessor technologies and environmental sensors to investigate environmental spawning cues of scleractinian corals in captivity.

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This is one of a series of projects I entered an abstract and poster for at the Reef Conservation UK Conference this year, I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work on this project.

Using marine microprocessor technologies and environmental sensors to investigate environmental spawning cues of scleractinian corals in captivity. A collaboration between the Horniman Museum & Gardens & ZSL Conservation Programmes
J, Craggs1, Gary Fletcher2

The ex-situ settlement and growth of sexually produced coral planula larvae has great potential as a technique that can aid coral reef restoration efforts and provide a supply of highly sustainable cultured corals for the aquarium industry. The precise environmental cues that trigger corals to spawn in captivity however remain largely unknown. Taking advantage of the latest marine microprocessor technologies and environmental sensors, this investigation aims to better understand these spawning cues in captivity and will investigate the influences of the lunar cycle, diurnal changes, seasonal temperature changes and nutritional input on gamete production and release.
Through this work it is proposed the development of an underwater detection camera to track releasing of gametes from broadcast spawners and planula in brooding corals enabling remote observation possibilities in the future.

RCUK – Developing Long Term, Deep Water, Satelite Connected Monitoring Systems

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ImageThis is the Marine Instant Wild poster I showed at the Reef Conservation UK Conference this year, it was a good opportunity to show the community what we are working on and there was an awful lot of interest!

Reef Conservation UK – Using “Citizen Science” to journal coral spawning in hobbyist and public aquaria

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This is one of a series of projects I entered an abstract and poster for at the Reef Conservation UK Conference this year, I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work on this project.

Using “Citizen Science” to journal coral spawning in hobbyist and public aquaria. A collaboration between the Horniman Museum & Gardens & ZSL Conservation Programmes
J, Craggs1, Gary Fletcher2, Alasdair Davies3

An increasing amount of both hard and soft corals are spawning successfully in aquaria. Some species may not yet been scientifically documented. ZSL to date have developed a number of “Citizen Science” projects where communities may be leveraged upon to create trends for hypothesis and investigation. This project involves the creating and marketing of an internet based “Coral Spawning Journal” which will record user contributed images and video as well as environmental variables such as temperature, pH, alkalinity, salinity, date, nutritional input and lunar cycle variables where available. The project aims to identify catalysts and trends in spawning activities for further investigation as well as providing an educational resource for promoting husbandry techniques based on findings as well as a list of guidelines for participants to look for.
The project would benefit from contributions from RCUK academics that have documented coral spawning and would like to contribute to the initial editorial content of the journal.

First Camera Assembley

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Today is pretty exciting in the world of Marine Instant Wild, here’s the first camera enclosure what’s more there is some meaningful software actually installed on it! We still have yet to put the camera in an aquarium but we’re edging closer!

Many thanks to Paul from the prototype design and Barnaby for finalising the internal structure – which is incredibly complicated and has some very fine tolerances and of course Ryan for designing the enclosure and machining it! Both are major contributors to Reading HackSpace and is just testament to how well these community based places work.