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UCSD Scientists Will Develop Mini-Robots To Explore Ocean

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography has been awarded nearly $1 million to develop new tools for ocean exploration.

Scientists will use the money to develop miniature robots that will explore ocean ecosystems in small scale.

Peter Franks is a UC San Diego professor of biological oceanography.

He said the robots can be programmed to track and monitor algal blooms off San Diego's coast.

"How does it emerge at the coast," Franks asks. "How does it develop over weeks and months to finally show up as a really dense red tide that colors our waters. And in other regions I think they're going to be extremely useful for actually tracking toxic plumes as well."

While oceanographers have become skilled in detailing broad ocean processes, Franks says there's a need to turn the focus to a smaller scale.