This cruise will be divided into seven legs, each with a distinct research objective and a specialized complement of scientists. Transit legs to and from the Gulf of California will be focused chiefly on physical oceanography and will utilize a CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) instrument and other chemical sensors to characterize water masses and the plankton communities they support. The principal research tool during the remaining five legs of the expedition will be the ROV (remotely operated vehicle) Tiburon. This is a tethered, unmanned, undersea vehicle, powered from and operated by pilots aboard the surface support vessel R/V (research vessel) Western Flyer.
ROV has a variety of standard instrumentation including video and still
frame cameras, lights for observation, and instruments to measure
temperature, salinity, turbidity, and oxygen concentration. The vehicle
can also be fitted with specialized instrument and tool packages that are
specific to the needs of the different research programs. These include
manipulator arms, coring devices, instrument probes, suction samplers,
static samplers, water sampling bottles, and chemical sensors.
The ROV has an operational depth range of 4,000 meters. Typical research dives last from 10 to 16 hours of time in the water. During the ROV dives the surface support vessel remains active, moving with either automated or manual dynamic positioning to remain above the vehicle as it moves along the sea floor or through the water column. Samples are returned to the surface by the ROV or by elevators, platforms that utilize buoyancy to carry material up from the seafloor without requiring the ROV to surface.
Please click here for a full equipment list.