In 1999 a collaborative group of scientists and environmental professionals began monitoring the bay at nighttime during the neap (weak) tides in the summer months to study the impacts nutrients have on dissolved oxygen levels. The team monitored approximately 25 sites throughout Narragansett Bay with an instrument called a YSI which measures dissolved oxygen, salinity and temperature. The team would take measurements at the surface and at every meter down to the bottom. And because a YSI takes about 30 seconds to get a proper reading its quite fitting that this group of scientists were originally dubbed "the insomniacs" because they would begin their survey around midnight and work through the night until about six in the morning to complete their survey of 25 site.
In 2003 the insomniac team purchased three SeaBirds which perform the same functions as a YSI, but work much faster and also measure fluorometry (the amount of chlorophyll in the water column). They began going out during the day and are now called "the day trippers". Now, through collaboration with Brown University and Save the Bay, the Program monitors over 70 sites throughout the Bay. To learn more about the background of the monitoring program visit our page on the hypoxia threat.