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Midwater Ecology Expedition 2018 – Log 2

Midwater Ecology Expedition 2018 – Log 2

Exploring the midwater with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) gives us a unique perspective of the communities living there. Traditional methods for studying the midwater involved trawling—dragging a net behind the boat and then sorting through the haul. That haul can be filled with fish, squid, crustaceans, and LOTS of jelly parts. Due to their delicate structure, it can be challenging to accurately count the many gelatinous animals from a trawl. But with an ROV, we can see these creatures easily in their fluid environment. We can often identify and even count them as we cruise through the water column.

ROV Doc Ricketts gives us a window into their world—in the relative comfort of a control room on the ship. Operating the ROV involves a coordinated effort among the entire crew and the ROV pilots. During deployment and recovery of the ROV all hands are on deck, two pilots are in the control room, and everyone is communicating with headsets with the captain on the bridge who is moving the ship to position the ROV for a safe deployment and recovery.

During the dive, the pilots in the control room are constantly talking to the crew on the bridge to ensure the ROV tether has just the right amount of slack in it. A tight tether will cause the ROV to be tugged by the ship, while a slack tether could lead to a loop in the tether. This synchronized operation helps lead to a successful dive. We couldn’t do our research without our crew and ROV pilots!

About Midwater Ecology Expedition 2018

November 9-17, 2018 – The Midwater Ecology Group is measuring oxygen consumption rates of select deep-sea animals using a custom-designed tool, the Midwater Respirometry System (MRS).