We use a Hydrolab DS5x to study ecological dynamics on a remote island off the rugged Washington coast. Getting there requires navigating treacherous currents and landing through the surf in a zodiac boat. There is no power and the island is pounded by surf that can be 40′ high. We needed a system that reliably logs ocean conditions over long periods and is tough enough to withstand violent water motion. Colleagues at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium suggested that we try Hydrolabs, as theirs still worked after the Beluga whales used it as a toy.
We strap ours to a rock wall for 2-6 weeks with a custom sleeve that allows rapid installation between waves. Since 2000, our Hydrolabs have performed reliably and held up to the harsh conditions. The data document rapid ocean acidification in the Pacific Northwest, allow construction of historical records of changes in coastal carbon cycles by calibrating shell chemistry signals, and reveal how marine ecosystems shift as ocean pH declines.