OOI Pioneer Array to Relocate to MAB

Learn how you can help to optimize the OOI Pioneer Array configuration for its new location!

It’s official, the next location of the OOI (Ocean Observatories Initiative) Coastal Pioneer Array is the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) and the move will take place in 2024.  The geographic footprint championed during the NSF-sponsored Innovations Lab #1 is the region of the MAB between Cape Hatteras and Norfolk Canyon.  This region offers opportunities to collect data on a wide variety of cross-disciplinary science topics including cross-shelf exchange, land-sea interactions associated with large estuarine systems, a highly productive ecosystem with major fisheries, and carbon cycle processes. This location also offers opportunities to improve our understanding of hurricane development, tracking and prediction, and offshore wind partnerships. 

As background, the OOI has been in full operations since 2016. The OOI Pioneer Array was designed to be relocatable, and in 2020 the Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board (OOIFB) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) launched a process to select the next OOI Pioneer Array location. During the week of March 15-19, an Innovations Lab was held to explore possible locations for the Pioneer Array based on scientific questions that require an ocean observatory to advance knowledge. At the Lab, members from the oceanographic community formed teams and worked to ideate and pitch possible locations.  These pitches helped to identify the new scientific, educational, and partnership opportunities that could be offered at various locations.  The process helped to inform the NSF on its their decision on the next OOI Pioneer Array location.

The next phase of the Pioneer Array planning process is beginning and a Phase 2 Innovations Lab is scheduled for the week of June 21-25.  The ocean community is invited to help identify new design considerations that can enable exciting research endeavors at the chosen location.  Scientists, educators, and other stakeholders are encouraged to apply for the Phase 2 Innovations Lab.

Phase 2 Micro Lab – May 12, 2021 – 1:00 – 2:30 pm EDT

A Micro Lab will be held on May 12, 2021 from 1:00-2:30 pm EDT, where representatives from the National Science Foundation (NSF), OOIFB and science members, along with the current operator of the Pioneer Array will present information about the optimization process, location characteristics, as well as technical details about the Pioneer Array.  Individuals interested in applying for the Phase 2 Innovations Lab are encouraged to attend the Micro Lab.  

The Micro Lab is open to all, but an RSVP is required. If you are interested and and want to learn more, please RSVP here to participate.

Phase 2 Innovations Lab – June 21-25, 2021

During the Phase 2 Innovations Lab, participants will work to identify the observatory opportunities that can be offered by the new Pioneer Array location. An objective will be to explore how the Pioneer Array sensors and platforms can be optimized to achieve science and education goals at the new site, based on environmental, logistical, and infrastructural considerations. Challenges presented by deployment of Array infrastructure at the new location will be evaluated. Partnership and collaboration potentials at the new location will also be discussed.  

The OOIFB, in partnership with KnowInnovations, will facilitate the Phase 2 Innovations Lab. A diverse mix of Lab participants is important to boost the innovation richness and dynamic. The Lab participants will be selected to achieve a broad range of disciplines and professional expertise, career stage (from early to senior), gender, cultural background, and life experience. Involving a wide range of people in the conversations will enrich the innovative quality, outputs, and outcomes of the Lab.  Selected Innovations Lab participants will be announced in early June. 

Participants will meet virtually each day of the week (M-F) for about 5 hours each day. The Phase 2 Innovations Lab Application Form is available HERE. The application deadline is May 31, 2021.  

Learn more about the Coastal Pioneer Array:

Individuals who are planning to apply for the Phase 2 Innovations Labs should be familiar with the current Array’s capabilities, as well as design and system characteristics that must be considered when planning for a new geographic location. For details, please review the information provided here:

Helpful Resources:

Phase 1 Information and the Pioneer Array Relocation Process

For additional information about selection of the next OOI Pioneer Array location, as well as information about the Phase 1 process, please click HERE.