Follow the Glider is a web tool aimed at students and developed by CEFAS, IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB) and SOCIB (Balearic Coastal Monitoring and Forecasting System) as part of the European FP7 – JERICO project. It is based on the glider-monitoring tool available at www.socib.es.

Our aim is to help students from a variety of different grade levels to find out what underwater gliders are and gain awareness of their importance for coastal research. We also strive to enable students to monitor the gliders that SOCIB is currently using in the Balearic coastal area.

Follow the Glider is part of the JERICO European project. JERICO’s mission is to develop a network that will coordinate the activities of different European coastal observatories, share experiences, and establish an organization that will warrant periodical, ongoing, sustainable environmental information and other marine environment products throughout the European coastal areas. This will enable us to protect the environment and its biodiversity, gain a better understanding of climate change, and provide more accurate forecasts of its impacts, contributing to sustainable use of marine resources.

How to use the tool

Follow the Glider enables users to monitor the gliders currently deployed by SOCIB and IMEDEA, which provide data about the Balearic Sea and the Western Mediterranean.

The tool shows the gliders’ course in almost real time, as well as their itineraries and the data they have collected during their different missions. This enables users to perform activities over time, follow a glider’s course, and analyze the data provided by former missions.

The website offers information about what gliders are and how to interpret some of the data they provide. Bearing in mind that gliders provide a huge amount of information about a variety of parameters, we have selected four that seem particularly significant and relevant for observing the sea. In terms of physical parameters, Follow the Glider provides information about the water’s salinity and temperature. In terms of biochemical parameters, students will be able to check chlorophyll and oxygen charts.

We recommend beginning the activities by discussing the need to gain a better understanding of our marine environment, both to preserve its ecosystems and to make sustainable use of its resources. Next, the glider can be introduced as an instrument for researching coastal waters, showing students what it’s like and how it works. Last, they can follow its course in the sea, drawing conclusions from the data it provides.