Sensors and Sensor Networks for Water Quality Monitoring and Research

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
330 Gross Hall -  12:00 - 1:00PM

Brian Pellerin, PhD

Research Biogeochemist, US Geological Survey


Sensors and enabling technologies are becoming increasingly important tools for water quality monitoring and associated water resource management decisions. In particular, nutrient sensors are of interest because of the well-known adverse effects of nutrient enrichment on coastal hypoxia, harmful algal blooms, and impacts to human health. Accurate and timely information on water quality is integral to strategies designed to minimize risk to humans and manage the underlying drivers of impairment.  As a Federal science agency, the U.S. Geological Survey uses water quality sensors in a variety of research and monitoring programs to better understand water quality changes in-situ and transmit that data in real-time.  This talk will highlight the range of applications for in-situ sensor technologies and will highlight challenges and opportunities for building regional and national networks.  I will also highlight several near-term opportunities that will help accelerate the development of sensors, data collection platforms and data management protocols that are key to realizing the benefits of integrated continuous and real-time monitoring networks. Investing in these opportunities will provide new information to guide management and policies designed to protect and restore our nation’s water resources.

Biographical Sketch:

Brian Pellerin is a research biogeochemist with the U.S. Geological Survey, where he began as a National Research Council post-doc (2004-2007) in the California Water Science Center.  He has more recently assumed a Technology Leadership role within the USGS Office of Water Quality in Reston, Virginia, and supports the application of continuous water quality technology within the agency and with other Federal, academic, industry and non-governmental partners. Brian has a B.S. (1998) and Ph.D. (2004) from the University of New Hampshire and M.S. from the University of Maine (2000), and has been conducting research on the use of in situ optical sensors for understanding nutrient and carbon dynamics in rivers and streams across the country.