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Sunburst Sensors to provide pHyters and training to citizen scientists and schools

16/09/21 by madison
A picture of the pHyter devices that Sunburst Sensors will distribute

Sunburst Sensors, a private industry partner of the CREWS project, was awarded $150K to develop, produce and distribute the pHyter, an inexpensive, handheld instrument for discrete pH measurements.  This Phase 1 grant is from the NOAA SBIR program, which promotes innovation by small businesses. 

The pHyter uses a cellphone app and communicates through Bluetooth to make discrete spectrophotometric pH measurements with higher accuracy and repeatability than a typical pH probe.  The app records location, time, temperature, pH, and meta-data.

Collaborators on the project include Dr. Emily Rivest with CSI Oyster, a program that teaches high school students to collect and analyze data related to ocean and coastal acidification (OCA) and the shellfish aquaculture industry, while helping high school teachers to form related lesson plans, Professor Nicole Crane, at Cabrillo College, and Lisa Uttal, with the National Plankton Monitoring Network (PMN), collaborative programs which train college students and citizen scientists on techniques to monitor for harmful algal blooms and related water quality parameters, and Dr. Matt Liebman with the USEPA, who coordinates citizen science groups that monitor OCA along the northeast US coast. 

Measurements using the pHyter will be incorporated into curriculum and monitoring programs with each of these collaborators. We are also working with Dr. Phil Bresnahan at the University of North Carolina Wilmington on updating the pHyter design and linking the pHyter to a public data portal.