REMORA is a low-cost, field-deployable prototype spectrofluorometer for measuring induced fluorescence of harmful algal blooms (HABs). The technology was developed by a team of researchers led by Andrew Whittle, who along with Fábio Duarte, received the Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) 2023 Solutions Grant to refine the prototype and ready the technology for commercial deployment.

In REMORA's initial development, researchers trained a machine learning model to identify and quantify cell concentrations for mixtures of different algal groups in water samples based on the measured fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (EEM). The team demonstrated REMORA's ability to advance currently existing algal monitoring technologies by discriminating distinct algal classes with complex blooms in field measurements at locations in Boston and Amsterdam.

Through the 2023 J-WAFS Solutions Grant, Andrew and Fábio will enhance REMORA's design and develop software for autonomous sensor operation in remote deployment for high-resolution spatiotemporal monitoring for harmful algae. Sensor commercialisation will enable long-term monitoring by water utilities, environmental regulatory agencies and water-intensive industries for early detection and mitigation of HABs, which is estimated to cause USD 13 billion in annual damage to commercial fishing areas, drinking water, desalination activities, and water for recreational usage.


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