Project: Environmental Sample Processor

Is my beach safe today? Measuring water quality in near real-time for human health.

Rapid and routine monitoring of coastal water quality not only protects human health, but also provides information on mitigating poor water quality to improve ocean heath. Moreover, the Environmental Sample Processor Project provides knowledge and advanced technology for water quality monitoring to regulatory stakeholders. The centerpiece of this project is the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), an autonomous ocean going instrument developed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) to monitor a variety of aquatic microorganisms in real-time. In partnership with MBARI, the Center has developed a suite of molecular assays specific for use on the ESP to detect pathogens and microbial indicators. In addition, the sampling capabilities of the ESP are being utilized by the environmental DNA (eDNA) project to obtain biological information on greater spatial and temporal scales. These methods have the ability to influence national and state water quality standards to protect human and ecological health as well as water quality.

Affiliated Researcher and former Early Career Fellow Kevan Yamahara and the ESP. Photo courtesy of Kevan Yamahara.