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James Joslin

Senior Mechanical Engineer






James Joslin joined the ocean engineering team at APL-UW in the summer of 2015 after four years in the UW Mechanical Engineering Department. His research interests include marine renewable energy, instrumentation for environmental monitoring, underwater vehicles, robotics, and hydrodynamics. James supports a wide variety of marine projects from system design and fabrication to the management of field deployments and testing.

In addition to his research, James is actively pursuing the commercialization of technologies developed at APL-UW through a University of Washington spinoff.

Department Affiliation

Ocean Engineering


B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Dartmouth College, 2005

M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Dartmouth College, 2007

Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, 2015


Persistent Environmental Monitoring Near an Operational Wave Energy Converter

In the first demonstration of the technology, the WEC supplied all the power needed by the multi-sensor Adapatable Monitoring Package.

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15 Jul 2019

For over 6 months, ocean environment observations were captured by the sensor package powered only by the ocean waves at the U.S. Navy Wave Energy Test Site off Oahu, HI.

Here, offshore Hawaii, the Navy is interested to understand the risk of interactions between wave energy conversion devices and marine animals, especially humpback whales. During its deployment the acoustic, sonar, photo, and video sensors detected, characterized, and recorded marine animals (no whales) relying only on the wave power captured by and converted to electricity by the Fred. Olsen BOLT Lifesaver buoy.

Wave Energy Buoy that Self-deployes (WEBS)

The Wave Energy Buoy that Self-deploys (WEBS) converts surface wave energy to mechanical and electrical power. WEBS is an easily deployed power station that can operate anywhere in the off-shore environment. Potential applications include power sensor payloads for scientific instrumentation; power station for autonomous systems, undersea vehicles, and/or surface vessels; and communications relay.

Research collaborators are the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Columbia Power Technologies.

13 Dec 2016


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Adaptable Monitoring Package development and deployment: Lessons learned for integrated instrumentation at marine energy sites

Polagye, B., J. Joslin, P. Murphy, E. Cotter, M. Scott, P. Gibbs, C. Bassett, and A. Stewart, "Adaptable Monitoring Package development and deployment: Lessons learned for integrated instrumentation at marine energy sites," J. Mar. Sci. Eng., 8, 553, doi:10.3390/jmse8080553, 2020.

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24 Jul 2020

Integrated instrumentation packages are an attractive option for environmental and ecological monitoring at marine energy sites, as they can support a range of sensors in a form factor compact enough for the operational constraints posed by energetic waves and currents. Here we present details of the architecture and performance for one such system — the Adaptable Monitoring Package — which supports active acoustic, passive acoustic, and optical sensing to quantify the physical environment and animal presence at marine energy sites. we describe cabled and autonomous deployments and contrast the relatively limited system capabilities in an autonomous operating mode with more expansive capabilities, including real-time data processing, afforded by shore power or in situ power harvesting from waves. Across these deployments, we describe sensor performance, outcomes for biological target classification algorithms using data from multibeam sonars and optical cameras, and the effectiveness of measures to limit biofouling and corrosion. On the basis of these experiences, we discuss the demonstrated requirements for integrated instrumentation, possible operational concepts for monitoring the environmental and ecological effects of marine energy converters using such systems, and the engineering trade-offs inherent in their development. Overall, we find that integrated instrumentation can provide powerful capabilities for observing rare events, managing the volume of data collected, and mitigating potential bias to marine animal behavior. These capabilities may be as relevant to the broader oceanographic community as they are to the emerging marine energy sector.

Station-keeping simulation of a non-moored WEC

Rusch, C., B. Polagye, J. Joslin, and A. Stewart, "Station-keeping simulation of a non-moored WEC," Proc., 4th Marine Energy Technology Symposium, 25-27 April, Washington, D.C. (2016).

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25 Apr 2016

While most concepts for wave energy revolve around anchored or tethered wave energy converters (WECs), untethered WECs may have broader potential applications. The lack of an anchor simplifies deployment and recovery operations and eliminates a component of the WEC that constitutes approximately 10% of the capital expense.

We explore the dynamics of an unmoored WEC using numerical simulations of a free drifting WEC under various environmental forcing conditions. The feasibility of device station keeping is also assessed.

Demonstration of biofouling mitigation methods for long-term deployments of optical cameras

Joslin, J., and B. Polagye, "Demonstration of biofouling mitigation methods for long-term deployments of optical cameras," Mar. Technol. Soc. J., 49, 88-96, doi:10.4031/MTSJ.49.1.12, 2015.

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1 Jan 2015

Biofouling mitigation measures for optical ports can extend the duration of oceanographic deployments, but there have been few quantitative studies of field performance. Results are presented from a 4-month field test of a stereo-optical camera system intended for long-term environmental monitoring of tidal turbines. A combination of passive (copper rings and ClearSignal antifouling coating) and active (mechanical wipers) biofouling mitigation measures are implemented on the optical ports of the two cameras and four strobe illuminators. Biofouling on the optical ports is monitored qualitatively by periodic diver inspections and quantitatively by metrics describing the quality of the images captured by cameras with different antifouling treatments. During deployment, barnacles colonized almost every surface of the camera system, except the optical ports with fouling mitigation measures. The effectiveness of the biofouling mitigation measures suggests that 4-month deployment durations are possible, even during conditions that would otherwise lead to severe fouling and occlusion of optical ports.

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In The News

Eyes Underwater Watching Aquatic Wildlife

Environmental Monitor, Karla Lant

Recent work from researchers at the University of Washington offers a promising new way to harvest energy from waves at sea and use that energy to power an Adaptable Monitoring Package.

9 Jul 2019

Converting ocean waves into electricity poses challenges—and promise

Columns Magazine, Jon Marmor

In the glorious Pacific Ocean waters off the windward coast of O’ahu, waves crash along the Kailua coast. But it isn’t just surfers who salivate over those ocean jewels. Scientists believe the motion of the ocean could bring the promise of something even more important: clean energy.

3 Jun 2019

Researchers in Sequim studying how new energy technology could impact fish

KING 5, Alison Morrow

Ocean tides could someday serve as a major source of renewable energy, but first scientists want to understand how the underwater equipment might affect the behavior of fish.

8 Apr 2019

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An Adaptable Monitoring Package for Marine Environmental Monitoring

Record of Invention Number: 47352

Brian Polagye, James Joslin, Ben Rush, Andy Stewart


21 May 2015

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center