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64 T he oceans are a critical point of focus for anyone who cares about the well-being of the environment. It is a world-spanning carbon sink, it regulates global temperatures and harbours an estimated 50-80% of our planet’s biodiversity. As climate change continues to spur increasingly alarming disasters as well as upticks in the rates of species extinctions, there is a race against time to better understand the signs and metrics relating to climatological events, in order to know how best to mitigate their effects on ecosystems and human-populated areas. Accordingly, there has been a surge in the use of UUVs for research purposes, not only to further our understanding of the oceans but particularly to investigate environmental phenomena and improve our ability to gather oceanological data to ensure that the UUV industry is a net positive for the future of our shared planet. Algae research By and large, life on Earth depends on the roles played by algae. They form the foundation of aquatic ecosystems and produce 50% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere via photosynthesis. However, there is rising awareness of the phenomenon of harmful algal blooms (HABs) such as toxic blue-green algae that appear in freshwater lakes, reservoirs and streams, not to mention toxic diatoms and dinoflagellates such Researchers are relying increasingly on UUVs to gather essential data about the effects of climate change. Rory Jackson reports Climate models February/March 2022 | Unmanned Systems Technology