Evaluating the impact of sewage discharges on the marine environment with a lightweight AUV

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Abstract

Environmental studies that use small Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) can survey wider and deeper areas, compared to traditional methods, at a reasonable cost. Thanks to the precise vehicle navigation systems, the data collected can be accurately geolocalized. Besides, lightweight vehicles can be deployed from the shore or from small boats and programmed by means of user-friendly graphical interfaces, thus reducing and simplifying the need of human resources and infrastructures. Based on such a technology, this paper presents a framework to assess the environmental impact of a marine sewage outfall set in the Bay of Palma (Mallorca, Spain). We report the results of the analysis of the images recorded in the course of six missions conducted with an AUV. The plan was designed after a microbiological analysis detected the presence of cyanobacteria in a sample of sand and water collected by scuba divers close to the sewer pipe mouth.

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Bonin-Font, F., Lalucat, J., Oliver-Codina, G., Massot-Campos, M., Font, E. G., & Carrasco, P. L. N. (2018). Evaluating the impact of sewage discharges on the marine environment with a lightweight AUV. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 135, 714–722. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.07.071

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