A robotic optical sedimentation recorder is described for the recordation of carbon flux in the oceans wherein both POC and PIC particles are captured at the open end of a submersible sampling platform, the captured particles allowed to drift down onto a collection plate where they can be imaged over time. The particles are imaged using three separate light sources, activated in sequence, one source being a back light, a second source being a side light to provide dark field illumination, and a third source comprising a cross polarized light source to illuminate birefringent particles. The recorder in one embodiment is attached to a buoyancy unit which is capable upon command for bringing the sedimentation recorder to a programmed depth below the ocean surface during recordation mode, and on command returning the unit to the ocean surface for transmission of recorded data and receipt of new instructions. The combined unit is provided with its own power source and is designed to operate autonomously in the ocean for extended periods of time.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT
The invention described and claimed herein was made in part utilizing funds supplied by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC03-76SF00098, and more recently under DE-AC02-05CH11231. The government has certain rights in this invention.