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DORIS drift buoys being used to determine sargassum trajectory

Punta Herrero, Q.R. — Three Oceanographic Probes called DORIS have been released off the southern coast of Quintana Roo. The probes, which are part of a pilot project between the Secretary of the Navy (Semar) and the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC), are being used to help gain information about the drift paths of the Caribbean Sea.

Last week, authorities released the three probes 60 kilometers off Punta Herrero in Costa Maya. It was the first of five weekly trips they intend to make during the months of June and July, as part of the efforts to combat sargassum.

In a statement, Semar explained that the objective of the project is to obtain information and generate knowledge about the main drift paths in the Caribbean region. The information collected and the corresponding report will be useful for the activities that Semar carries out with the sargassum vessels used in the collection of the seaweed, since these probes are specially built to estimate sargassum trajectory.

The DORIS oceanographic probes are an oceanographic instrument designed by researchers and academic technicians from the UABC Institute of Oceanological Research, which performs autonomous calculations then transmits them to the user a few minutes after having carried out the in-situ measurement.

Its compact and lightweight design allows them to be released quickly from a boat, and thanks to its components, is resistant to salt water. DORIS is outfitted with photo-cells that recharge its batteries and has sustainable autonomy to carry out missions of several months.

During the months of September and October 2019, five DORIS drift buoys were released in the Mexican Caribbean after Semar and the UABC signed a collaboration agreement with the objective of combining efforts to generate drift trajectory data using autonomous oceanographic derivatives in support for environmental contingency measures on the coasts of Quintana Roo.

Semar added that this is how it complies with the Containment Plan for the atypical phenomenon of sargassum along the coasts of the Mexican Caribbean “and contributes, with the available means in the strategy of the Government of Mexico, to face it.”