Dr. Xu, working with Dr. Helmuth from the Biology department, spent her Summer on a beach in Oregon testing wireless sensors that would monitor environnemental conditions. The research is being coverend in local news:
Dr. Xu is developing a sensor that looks like a Mussel that can be deployed and will relay information in realtime. The field test is designed to see how the current sensor behaves under real conditions and what changes need to be made to make it successful. If the sensor can be developed, researchers will have access to realtime information and will be able to see how changes in the environment are impacting the marine organisms. This could unlock a treasure trove of information for researchers worldwide.
Notice that the sensor is in the shape and color of a Mussel. It is attached to the Mussel bed by an epoxy that hopefully will keep the sensor intact through breaking waves as the tide advances.
Update: This work is now funded by an NSF grant titled "Intertidal Sensor Networks for Climate Change Studies in Intertidal Ecosystems."
This is what the hardware looks like: