Studying the effect of waves on seaweed.
The National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research of New Zealand (NIWA) is studying the effect that ocean waves have on a particular species of seaweed called Durvillaea that is found mainly in New Zealand’s coastal waters. Some specimens weigh in at 70kg and have fronds extending to over 10m in length. With ‘roots’ so strong that it is easier to chip the rock surround away than cut the plant to remove a specimen, they can survive enormous waves and very harsh conditions. As research scientist Dr. Craig Stevens explains, “Seaweed species play a vital role in the ecology of the sea shore, as its substantial biomass affects the entire web of life in the region. While there is a long history of understanding the fundamentals of the plant’s biology, little is known about how they physically survive in an incredibly harshenvironment.” The NIWA team chose RDP to supply sensors for the measurement phase of the project. “We required LVDTs and load cells to operate underwater in harsh environments to get as much feedback data as possible.” continued Dr. Stevens.
More than one supplier didn’t want to know about such a ‘strange’ application, and even despite the global Internet economy, NIWA was repeatedly referred to local agents who didn’t have the experience to help. Dr. Stevens concluded, “RDP products met our requirements for waterproof, rugged and good resolution sensors and offered the best support.” _________________________________________________________ For sales and technical information contact:- RDP Electronics Limited Grove Street, Heath Town, Wolverhampton WV10 0PY. UK. Tel: +44(0) 1902 457512. Fax: +44(0) 1902 452000 E-mail: Website: 22nd August 2000

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