The journey of « Louise »! Following an ocean drifting buoy

The aim of the « PEACETIME » project is to study the fundamental marine processes and their interactions at the ocean-atmosphere interface, in particular the atmospheric deposition in the Mediterranean and their impact on the functioning of the pelagic ecosystem.

Last May, researchers embarked on the oceanographic vessel « Pourquoi Pas? » released at sea twenty drifting buoys which allow to study the sea surface temperature and the ocean currents at 15m depth. The journey of these buoys is followed in real time by a GPS satellite positioning system.

« LOUISE », registered « 145518 », began its journey six months ago between Algeria and the Balearic Islands and took a break at the end of last week on a Sicilian beach.

Andrea Doglioli, assistant professor at the Aix-Marseille University and researcher at MIO, located the rebel near the « Torre Salsa » natural reserve, on the south-western coast of Sicily. Some phone calls, especially to Girolamo Culmone, Director of the Natural Reserve, were enough to make the necessary arrangements for the rescue of « LOUISE ».

On Sunday 10 December, Giuseppe Mazzotta, Sicilian President of the WWF – Mediterranean Area and Dr. Domenico Macaluso, his scientific manager, recovered the buoy, which they had seen drifting for two days to Seccagrande from their houses ! The recovery took place under the amused eyes of local journalists!


The Mediterranean, a place of high biodiversity but also a sea strongly impacted by anthropic pressure and at risk for climate change, is an ideal natural laboratory to study these processes. And the Sicilian Canal is a key area for circulation of currents. Did « LOUISE » want to be zealous? She is now waiting for some minor repairs at President Mazzotta’s garden before returning to the water.


To follow in real time the journey of the PEACETIME drifting buoys: 


You can also read about the adventures of « Louise » in the local journals here, here, herehere, and 

For more info about these instruments, please contact andrea.doglioli@univ-amu.fr