The high-tech buoy is on loan from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On Monday the buoy was lowered into the bay right next to the Exploratorium's new building on Pier 17.
The buoy holds instruments to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the water. Then it transmits the data by satellite to NOAA. That data will be part of worldwide research on how the ocean is becoming more acidic.
"It affects really diverse things like fish behavior, larvae development, all kinds of things, even down to plankton. It's affecting plankton which is the base of the marine food chain. So scientists are really concerned about it," said Mary Miller from the Exploratorium.
The buoy will be anchored by the Exploratorium for six months. Once the system is up and running, it will be part of a museum exhibit that monitors air and water conditions around the bay.
ABC7 News is the Exploratorium's exclusive TV partner.
Written and produced by Jennifer Olney