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Research scientists have long expressed a desire to monitor Ossabaw Island’s atmospheric, geological and ecological conditions. The island provides a rare opportunity for long range “time series” observations on a substantial, protected barrier island that will never be developed. The Georgia Power Barrier Island Observatory was installed in 2008-2009 to provide wireless transmission of data collected on Ossabaw.

Two telescoping 100-foot towers are sited in strategic locations to enable data communication from the island’s south end to the north end, where The Ossabaw Island Foundation has established high speed internet connectivity. Upon reaching the north end, the data can be transmitted to the mainland and is available to scientists, educators and classrooms across the country and around the world.

The BIO infrastructure is used by scientists from many different scientific disciplines, to install sensors and collect statistical, audio and visual data from the island. Conditions being monitored include salinity and oxygen levels in the water; moisture rates and temperatures in the soil; and remote video observations of tides, protected bird species mating and nesting in the rookery, and turtles laying eggs on the beach.

Development of the Barrier Island Observatory was facilitated by The Ossabaw Island Education Alliance. Sponsors include Georgia Power, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, the Alliance of Coastal Technologies, Georgia Research Alliance, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and the University System of Georgia.

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Barrier Island Observatory