The Oleander Project


The Oleander Project is a collaborative effort between the University of Rhode Island (URI), Stony Brook State University of New York (SUNY), the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NOAA/NFSC), and the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic Meteorological Laboratory (NOAA/AOML) to collect oceanographic data such as ocean currents, upper ocean temperature, sea surface salinity, and surface carbon dioxide (CO2) in the highly dynamic region between New Jersey and Bermuda through the aid of the Ship Of Opportunity Program (SOOP).

The Bermuda Container Line (BCL), owners of the MV Oleander, provides the vital role of supporting the inter-institutional collaboration by agreeing to equip their container vessel with oceanographic instrumentation and to collect the aforementioned data, at no extra charge, as the MV Oleander crosses the route from the continental shelf near New Jersey, to the Slope Sea, the Gulf Stream, and part of the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda. Both URI and SUNY measure ocean currents by utilizing a shipboard Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) (since 1992). NFSC collects zooplankton and phytoplankton by conducting transect surveys with their Hardy Continuous Plankton Recorder (since 1971). NFSC, along with AOML, also provides support for the collection of upper ocean temperature and surface salinity. NFSC deploys XBTs and conducts surface salinity measurements (since 1977). AOML, on the other hand, equips the MV Oleander with XBTs and a flow-through thermosalinograph (TSG), and provides expertise in software, data quality control, and data distribution. Lastly, AOML also measures the exchange of CO2 across the air-sea interface and its eventual penetration into the ocean (pCO2).

EXpendable BathyThermographs (XBTs)

An eXpendable BathyThermograph (XBT) is a probe that is dropped from a ship and measures the temperature as it falls through the water. A very thin wire transmits the temperature data to the ship where it is recorded for later analysis. The probe is designed to fall at a known rate, so that the depth of the probe can be inferred from the time since it was launched. The products on this website are based on XBT temperature profiles nominally produced from the surface to 850 meters.

MV Oleander Historical XBT Deployments


Map showing the location of MV Oleander XBT deployments since 1977 (red dots), and the annual mean sea surface temperature (SST), superimposed on the regional bathymetry between New Jersey and Bermuda. Note the higher sampling frequency approximately between 70°W and 74°W, a region of high scientific interest because of its proximity to the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, where the warm core of the Gulf Stream starts to depart from the East Coast of the US. The XBTs deployed from the MV Oleander are provided by NOAA/AOML.