Behind the scenes

A fleet of three long-range AUVs launched from R/V Paragon

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(from left) Ben Yair Raanan, Brian Kieft, and Brett Hobson prior to the deployment of three long-range autonomous underwater vehicles from the R/V Paragon in Monterey Bay. Photo by Todd Walsh.

June 11, 2015

Last week, a group of MBARI engineers deployed three long-range autonomous underwater vehicles (LRAUVs). Developed at MBARI, LRAUVs can travel several thousands of kilometers in the ocean, collecting data as they go. They were instrumental in supporting the spring 2015 CANON (Controlled, Agile, and Novel Observing Network) field experiments recently conducted in Monterey Bay. The CANON project aims to observe how marine microbiological communities respond to various physical, biological, and ecological processes.

LRAUVs enable better observations of microscopic marine organisms through space and time. They can be programmed to execute a specialized goal and can be coordinated to operate together. During this particular deployment, one LRAUV drifted in the water, providing a view of the ocean environment as the plankton experience it. Another LRAUV tracked this vehicle using sound to locate it, and repeatedly surveyed the surrounding ocean volume. An autonomous surface vehicle (not pictured) tracked both vehicles while they traveled below the surface and sent this information to researchers on shore. The third LRAUV collected water samples.