Building a modular and robust fluorometer for detecting chlorophyll a concentrations in regions surrounding aquaculture operations
Aquaculture has the potential to become the world's most important and sustainable option for protein production, but many of those involved in the industry currently lack the tools, resources, and education to make that happen. The purpose of this paper is to explore the feasibility of creating a robust but low-cost fluorometer that can detect chlorophyll levels and provide offshore aquaculture operations with immediate feedback on how their day-to-day operations impact the nutrient levels in the surrounding waters. The experimental setup involves an LED that emits light at 430 nm, focusing optics, and a photodiode placed perpendicular to the LED that is capable of detecting any light emitted from an algae sample. Preliminary results are promising as they demonstrate that such a setup is sensitive enough to detect the difference between samples containing different concentrations of chlorophyll. Further testing is required to optimize the fluorometer, and more research needs to be done into how to package the sensor and make it suitable for in situ trials.