University of Miami
Marine Technology Group

Mailing Address:

5600 US Hwy 1 North,
Fort Pierce, FL 34946
Phone: (772) 465-2400 ext 582
Fax: (772) 460-7767



Services Provided

One of the primary objectives of Scientific Support Services is to provide effective pre-cruise planning and preparation. Initial contact is made with the Chief Scientist six to eighteen months prior to departure of a research cruise. This serves to acquaint the Chief Scientist with the shared use instrumentation available, costs associated with their use, special ship capabilities or limitations, and services offered by MTG. At the same time, potential equipment scheduling conflicts or deficiencies may be determined and acted upon with a reasonable amount of lead-time. New equipment or upgrades to existing equipment that may be needed for cruises are considered by NSF Instrumentation or Scientific Support Equipment Proposals. The Chief Scientist is contacted more frequently as the research cruise departure date approaches, in order to keep both the Chief Scientist and the ship operations personnel informed of any changes in requirements or availability of equipment. The pre-cruise planning functions are conducted by the combined efforts of the Director of Marine Technical Services, the Program Assistant and typically, the lead Marine Technician for each respective expedition, commonly referred to as “cruises”.

Preparation of equipment prior to each cruise is performed by the Marine Technicians. These tasks include routine maintenance procedures, procurement of supplies and some in-house calibrations. Equipment requiring sophisticated non-routine calibrations is shipped to the appropriate calibration centers.

At sea, the Marine Technician’s task objectives fall into the following major categories:

Maintaining shared use equipment in optimum condition and continuously monitoring instrumentation data acquisition quality. For example, technicians routinely analyze salinity samples and introduce standards into various pieces of instrumentation to verify sensor stability and accuracy.

Assuring safe and proper equipment usage. Technicians train scientific personnel in operation of instrumentation with which they may be unfamiliar. In their zest for obtaining data, many scientists will not take into consideration the needs of the next scientist that will require the equipment on the next cruise. It is the technician’s responsibility to monitor the operation ensuring proper and safe procedures in a hazardous environment.

The R/V SEWARD JOHNSON, with few exceptions, operates 24 hours per day and therefore needs more hours of technician support time whereas the R/V WALTON SMITH typically works 12 hour days. On the R/V SEWARD JOHNSON the number of hours of technician coverage is 20 hours of support. On the R/V WALTON SMITH the number of hours of technician coverage is 10 hours of support per day. Overtime in excess of these support times at sea is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator.

We do not currently have equipment-specific user fees. Shipboard users are charged a standard daily rate, negotiated prior to the beginning of the operating calendar year with the National Science Foundation. Otherwise, consumables, special calibrations and post-cruise data processing are the responsibility of the science party. Examples of consumables are XBTs, core liners, and dissolved oxygen probes. Scientists have the option of supplying their own consumables or requesting MTG to supply them. When consumables are supplied by MTG, the consumables are ordered specifically for each cruise and the scientist is billed for the entire cost of acquisition including shipping and applicable RSMAS overhead rates. Consumables are only available when requested in advance as per the cruise planning configuration deadlines. See Cruise Planning Manual or contact us.

An example of a special calibration would be a pre- or post-cruise calibration above the annual calibration of the CTD funded under Basic Services. Similar to consumables, the cost of sending an instrument out for calibration including shipping and RSMAS overhead would be assessed to the scientist. The scientist also has the option of paying the calibrating center, oft manufacturer, directly.

During the cruise, the scientists normally complete the data processing, with some limited assistance from the Marine Technician as workload allows. Post-cruise processing may be handled by RSMAS staff outside of MTG and are billed directly by the group providing the service.