An international team of scientists and researchers have released a research paper describing how vision-enabled submersibles were sent to the bottom of the ocean to document lithodid crabs surviving off of cold methane seeps containing bacteria on the sea floor.
The team is comprised of the GEOMAR Helmhotz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the University of Basel, and the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology. In a press release on the project, it is explained that specialized microbes convert methane and sulfate from sea water to hydrogen sulfide releasing carbon dioxide. Highly adapted bacteria use the hydrogen sulfide for growth, and in this study, crabs were observed grazing at the bacterial mats on the methane seeps. But to do so required a plethora of dives and submersibles.
In June of 2005, the team sent the DSV Alvin and ROV Quest to carry out direct and video observations. The DSV Alvin is equipped with two primary science cameras—unspecified 2 MPixel CMOS color zoom cameras—and a manipulator-mounted 12 MPixel hybrid digital still/video camera. Aboard the ROV quest are eight composite color video cameras, including models from Insite Pacific Inc. (More details here)
In addition, the team captured photographs of the sea floor during the project via a downward-facing digital still camera from Ocean Imaging Systems. The camera—which was mounted on a lander frame on the team’s Deep-sea Observation system—is a modified deep sea 6.1 MPixel camera with a Nikon D70 SLR camera body and high pressure optical glass view port. It features a CCD image sensor and with a custom control PC board enables autonomous intervalometer functions, remote control capability, video line driving, and power management required for long term deployments.
Page 1 | Page 2