ECE Seminar Series – Ms. Jane Moorhead and collaborators to discuss Persistent Monitoring of Waterborne Biochemical Agents Using an Unmanned Surface Vehicle

February 24, 2021

ECE Research Seminar - Friday, March 5th at 1:00PM

Virtual Event on Webex - Click here for Webex link                                                                                                          

Persistent Monitoring of Waterborne Biochemical Agents Using an Unmanned Surface Vehicle
Jane Moorhead |


The rapid development of unmanned marine vehicles to monitor various systems including urban rivers, lakes, and coastal waters with a plethora of chemical and biological sensors, to detect and map a suite of water quality parameters is the objective of the present research project. The shortcomings of various ASVs (autonomous surface vehicles) to hold station and to operate in shallow water has led to the technical development of a new test platform, the SeaTrac vessel. With a large solar array which enables powerful and sophisticated sensor arrays, SeaTrac has the capability to provide a test platform that can persistently and autonomously monitor an area for months. The initial sensor suite measures conductivity, temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll a (a measure of total phytoplankton biomass), phycocyanin (a measure of freshwater cyanobacteria), phycoerythrin (a measure of saltwater cyanobacteria), backscattering at 470 nm, 532 nm, and 650 nm, colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), turbidity, and partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2). Additionally, an imaging flowcytobot (IFCB) is going to be integrated to the autonomous surface vessel that is going to provide image records of all the particles in the water between 10 and 150 μm in size including detritus, algal cells and their colonies. Having just acquired the vessel, we are in the initial testing phase of the project. This talk will focus on the test plan, and initial test results, communications to the boat and sensor suite, mapping of the sensor data and the mapping tools being developed for the project, as well as the future direction of the research project. Speakers include Ms. Jane Moorhead (ECE), Dr. Daniel Chesser (ABE), Mr. Wondimagegn Beshah (Geosciences), Ms. Jessica Simmerman, (ABE), and Dr. Wes Lowe (ABE).

Biographical Information

Jane Moorhead has degrees from North Carolina State University and Mississippi State University in Electrical and Computer Engineering and serves as an instructor in the ECE department at SU. She has over 30 years of experience developing GPU and ASIC implementation of Bayesian-based systems. She has worked with IBM, NASA and NOAA developing data acquisition systems and analysis of remotely sensed data. Her current research interests include FPGA accelerators of CNN-based object detection algorithms for maritime applications.  Daniel Chesser and Wes Lowe both received their Ph.D.s in Agricultural Engineering Technology at MSU and currently serve as assistant professors in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) Department. They have extensive experience indevelopment and implementation of precision agro-technical systems. Wondimagegn Tesfaye Beshah is a Ph.D. Student in the Department of Geosciences, and his research area is remote sensing of water quality. Jessica Bridges Simmerman is an MS student in the ABE, and her research focus is application and implementation of unmanned systems in agricultural and natural resource environments.

* For further information contact: Dr. Jenny Du | | 5-2035