Scientists Get Hands-onTraining in Use of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle For Benthic Habitat Mapping

The SeaBED autonomous underwater vehicle, being deployed here on a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution research cruise, is used to collect very high resolution color optical data by moving along survey tracks 3-4 m above the sea floor.

Earlier this year, scientists from the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) and colleagues from the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center participated in a 2-week cruise of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) aboard the R/V Cape Hatteras in waters around Puerto Rico. The Hatteras is a National Science Foundation vessel operated out of the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, North Carolina. During the Puerto Rico voyage, the researchers observed and learned how to use the latest generation SeaBED autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). Built and operated by WHOI, the SeaBED AUV is an excellent platform for collecting optical validation data in support of benthic habitat mapping. With a maximum depth range of 2000 m, it is applicable in coral reef and groundfish environments. It is designed to autonomously follow the terrain at a height of 3-4 m above the sea floor and provides very high resolution color imagery. CRED plans to further test the SeaBED AUV in Hawaii on the NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai and R/V AHI in 2009.

For more information contact: John Rooney