Event-scale phenomena, of limited temporal duration or restricted spatial extent, often play a disproportionately large role in ecological processes occurring in the ocean water column. Nutrient and gas fluxes, upwelling and downwelling, transport of biogeochemically important elements, predator-prey interactions, and other processes may be markedly influenced by such events, which are inadequately resolved from infrequent ship surveys. The advent of autonomous instrumentation, including underwater gliders, profiling floats, surface drifters, enhanced moorings, coastal high-frequency radars, and satellite remote sensing, now provides the capability to resolve such phenomena and assess their role in structuring pelagic ecosystems. These methods are especially valuable when integrated together, and with shipboard calibration measurements and experimental programs. © 2013 by The Oceanography Society. All rights reserved.