ROVs are unmanned vessels that give scientists the opportunity to study and collect organisms from greater depths than manned submersibles, without the risk to human life, and at less expense and effort. ROVs are becoming the primary tool for studying the biodiversity of the deepest oceanic ecosystems and are a key technology in deep sea research. They are linked to a surface support research vessel that controls their underwater activity and transports them to and from the research site. This BBC report gives a profile of ISIS, UK’s deep diving ROV, which has recently made a discovery of some hot vents.
The ICE-CTD research cruise investigated cold water coral reefs and seawater properties around coral and non-coral areas. The objective was to characterise the present and past coral environmental conditions. Coral were sampled for dating, geochemical and genetic studies. The GIS Technician’s job mainly involved using ArcGIS to prepare the ROV dive routes and produce maps. They were also in charge of transferring the real-time data and comparing the real-time routes with the planned dive.
The ship left Brest on the 11th of June and headed straight to the Icelandic waters. It was initially planned to investigate the Logachev mound province but this was cancelled due to bad weather conditions. The ROV was deployed in three locations off southern Iceland and coral reefs were found in each area. Included are pictures from some of the spectacular locations discovered. The ship docked in Reykjavík for one night, allowing everyone to scramble off and explore Iceland’s beautiful scenery (geysers, icesheets, the mid-atlantic ridge, waterfalls!). The ROV team left the ship at Iceland and the rest of the team continued down the middle of the Atlantic to the Azores. CTD measurements were taken along the way and ARGOS floats were deployed, but it was a much quieter cruise on the way back.
Here is the link to the cruise blog:
All the pictures are taken by the GENAVIR ROV team and are credited to the following source: ICE-CTD cruise on N/O Thalassa, conducted by the LSCE and IFREMER under the lead of Dr. Norbert Frank, Laboratory for Climate and Environmental Research LSCE. (links: http://www.lsce.ipsl.fr and http://www.ifremer.fr and contact email Norbert.Frank@lsce.ipsl.fr and Sophie.Arnaud@ifremer.fr) and to Fiona Stapleton, National University of Ireland, Galway.
Oceanographer Paul Snelgrove shares the results of a ten-year project with one goal: to take a census of all the life in the oceans. He shares amazing photos of some of the surprising finds of the Census of Marine Life.
James Cameron Breaks Solo Dive Record – In a state-of-the-art submersible, National Geographic explorer-in-residence and filmmaker James Cameron reached the deepest point of the Mariana Trench, breaking a world record for the deepest solo dive. James Cameron mentions it as more a desert like place with very fine sediments and small, white, alien-like animals.
Footage from Earth’s deepest place is available on this link on the BBC website and also on the post entitled “James Cameron’s Deep Sea Challenge: a scientific milestone or rich guy’s junket?”on Deep Sea News blog which discusses the significance of the dive.
At noon, local time (10 p.m. ET), James Cameron’s “vertical torpedo” sub broke the surface of the western Pacific, carrying the National Geographic explorer and filmmaker back from the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep—Earth’s deepest, and perhaps most alien, realm.
The first human to reach the 6.8-mile-deep (11-kilometer-deep) undersea valley solo, Cameron arrived at the bottom with the tech to collect scientific data, specimens, and visions unthinkable in 1960, when the only other manned Challenger Deep dive took place, according to members of the National Geographic expedition.
After a faster-than-expected, roughly 70-minute ascent, Cameron’s sub, bobbing in the open ocean, was spotted by helicopter and would soon be plucked from the Pacific by a research ship’s crane. Earlier, the descent to Challenger Deep had taken 2 hours and 36 minutes.
via National Geographic
A big congratulations to James Cameron and his team.
James Cameron: “It’s a heck of a ride, you’re just screaming down and screaming back up”