08/07/09 – Off of Cape Canaveral
This morning Steve Ross and Murray Roberts visited another Lophelia reef, trying to determine if this is a good location for deploying the Microlander. In addition to determining that there are some appropriate sites, they also collected several glass sponges and some Lophelia, which were processed in the lab.
The Microlander is a brand new piece of gear, designed to record the environment without the lights and noise of the submersible. It has three primary parts:
- Time Lapse Digital Video Recorder: This camera is using infrared light to “see” in the dark. We know that the lights of the submersible can both attract or scare off organisms. We hope that this camera will function in a more passive way than the sub — detecting animals that would be on and near the reef without bright lights.
- Recording Hydrophone: This device is designed to record the sounds underwater. We expect to hear sounds from fish and crustaceans, but could also pick up sounds from marine mammals, such as whales.
- Current Meter: The meter will record the speed and strength of the water flowing past the Microlander. It might help us determine if there is a periodicity (regular cycle) to the flow, such as we might see with tides. It is also measuring both the temperature and the conductivity of the water which will allow us to calculate the salinity.
In order to get the Microlander to the bottom safely and in our exact location, it was attached to the front of the sub. There are two arms coming out of the front that slide into tubes on the Microlander. One of the tubes has collar with a latch that keeps the lander in place as it travels to the bottom. When the right location is reached, the sub pilot will use the robotic arm of the sub to release the latch, and slowly back the sub away from the lander, leaving it resting on the bottom of the sea. The Microlander will be down for two days. Each component has its own battery source which should keep it running until we return. The sub crew have attached a “pinger” to help us locate it (in addition to recording the latitude and longitude) when we return.
This is the first time this Microlander is being deployed. The funding for the Microlander has come from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (www.sams.ac.uk), the Dorothy Chrystall Legacy and the TRACES project (www.lophelia.org/traces). We are looking forward to adding information from this new tool to help us better understand deep-water coral habitats.
08/07/09 - No Data
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