Located on the shores of Kentucky Lake in southwestern Kentucky, the Hancock Biological Station (HBS) is a year-round facility providing scientists with a base of operation for a wide variety of field research and presenting students with opportunities for field-oriented classes, individualized instruction, independent research, and close interactions with researchers and faculty. HBS is also the field facility for the Center for Reservoir Research and for the Ecological Consortium of Mid-America (ECOMA).
The region is diverse in aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Southwestern Kentucky has one of the largest densities of major rivers and reservoirs of any region in the world. Kentucky and Barkley Lakes, ponds, and streams are in close proximity. Kentucky Lake is one of the largest reservoirs in the United States (187 miles long) and joins a canal to Lake Barkley; together they have 3,700 miles of shoreline and 250,000 surface acres.
To promote the variety of research opportunities, NexSens Technology was asked to provide a research-grade weather station on the roof of the Biological Station and a water quality monitoring site on Kentucky Lake, using radio telemetry to send and receive real-time data parameters.
The weather station is equipped with an RM Young 05103 wind monitor to measure wind speed and direction. An RM Young 52203 tipping-bucket rain gauge was selected to obtain high accuracy rainfall measurements using a proven tipping-bucket mechanism. The RM Young 61202 barometer and 41382 temperature and relative humidity probe are used to fill out the sensor suite and provide a complete picture of current weather conditions.
On the Kentucky Lake, a second field site was installed for water quality measurements. Two YSI 6600 EDS (Extended Deployment Sondes) were deployed within the same 4-inch PVC deployment pipe. The top sonde measures temperature, conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and chlorophyll. The sonde at the bottom of the lake measures temperature, conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity.
Each monitoring instrument at the remote sites interfaces with NexSens 4100-iSIC radio telemetry data loggers to transmit weather and water quality data to a single, centralized computer database. The rooftop weather station acts as a repeater to send the data from both sites wirelessly into the building. HBS researchers selected radio telemetry to transmit data into the project office, eliminating the need for holes and wires on top of the roof.
With the help of the Murray State University MIS department, HBS researchers developed a web-based interface for viewing environmental data via HBS website. This provides virtually unlimited access to HBS researchers throughout the United States for use in their research or to determine weather and lake water quality conditions remotely for planning sampling trips.