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Building a simple tide clock

Myself and Jeremy Long recently had a paper published in PeerJ (open access, free to read) describing the use of an Arduino microcontroller to predict tides and regulate the water levels in aquaria in synchrony with the natural tides. You can read more about that tide controller system here and further variations here.

As part of the process of putting a poster together on the Tide Height Controller project for a meeting of the Western Society of Naturalists, I whipped up a simple little 3-piece tide clock that shows a live display of the tide for … Continue Reading

Controlling tide height in lab aquaria

A few years back I posted about a set of Arduino libraries I wrote to allow an Arduino with an attached clock to predict the tides for a coastal site. In that post, I showed a variation on the theme that had a motor-driven rack that transited up and down in time with the tide.

Now Jeremy Long and I have published an open access paper in the journal PeerJ (external link) describing our use of that tide-predicting-motorized-rack, which we called the Tide Height Control system. We used the THC system to recreate real tide … Continue Reading

More tide prediction with R

Edit: There is now a full-fledged R package, rtide, to accomplish the same basic task of generating time series of tide predictions that is outlined here. See this more recent post for information.

In the previous post I outlined how to query the XTide software with R and parse the results into a handy-dandy data frame. The biggest hurdle with that method is getting XTide up and running on your computer. The code outlined here works entirely within R, so you don’t need XTide installed on your computer. The trade-off is that it provides substantially … Continue Reading

Interfacing XTide and R

Edit: There is now a full-fledged R package, rtide, to accomplish the same basic task of generating time series of tide predictions that is outlined here. See this more recent post for information.

XTide is an open-source program that predicts tide heights and current speeds for hundreds of tide and current stations around the United States. It can be used to produce tide predictions in the past and future for a site at your chosen interval (down to the minute), as well as producing sunrise and sunset times, moon phases, and times when the tide level … Continue Reading

Using Arduino tide predictions

In the previous post, I outlined some Arduino code to generate tide height predictions for a NOAA tidal reference station.

Now let’s do something useful with this newfound functionality. In the experiments I run, it’s useful to keep intertidal animals like snails and limpets on a natural tidal cycle. In addition, some animals like high-shore limpets really dislike being continuously submerged, and will crawl up out of the tank and die when they dry out. In this case, I built a “limpet splasher” system that sprays water in the aquarium for a few seconds at a time with pauses in … Continue Reading

Tide height prediction with the Arduino

A collaborator of mine, Dr. Jeremy Long at SDSU, approached me with the idea of building a system to recreate rising and falling tide heights in his aquaria. One of the keys to making this work was having some way to specify what the tide height should be at any given time. While there is no shortage of websites and software that will give you tide predictions, they generally require an internet connection or a full-fledged computer to run tide prediction software, neither of which were necessarily desirable solutions when we wanted to control tides in aquaria that … Continue Reading

Accessing NOAA tide data with R

Boston Harbor tides for December 2010, retrieved from NOAA CO-OPS server.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration makes the data from their many tide monitoring stations around the continent available for download. One way to access these data is through NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) website, which provides several access methods including an OPeNDAP server. The OPeNDAP server allows you to construct a fairly simple URL query to submit in a web browser, and it will return the requested data as ascii … Continue Reading