Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles

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wwu Assistant Professor David Shull of Western Washington University Uses A VideoRay Pro 3 GTO In Bering Sea Ecosystem Study

A VideoRay Pro 3 GTO ROV recently played an important role in the Bering Ecosystem study, a National Science Foundation sponsored expedition to study the importance of sea ice on productivity in this important ecosystem. Scientists reached the sea ice in spring 2008 aboard the United States Coast Guard Icebreaker Healy.

David Shull of Western Washington University deployed the VideoRay ROV through holes cut in ice floes in order to study the role of ice algae as a food resource for the Bering Sea food web. The ROV was fitted with a light meter, a UNISENSE oxygen microsensor and a Nymotion micropositioning system in order to estimate rates of algal productivity from small-scale gradients in dissolved oxygen under the ice. The VideoRay also documented krill (genus Euphausia) apparently feeding on the ice algae.

The Bering Sea is the most important commercial fishing region in the US, accounting for over half of all commercial landings. Patterns of productivity associated with Bering Sea ice floes have changed in recent decades due to a trend in reduced ice coverage and earlier melt back. The small size and maneuverability of the VideoRay Pro 3 GTO enabled researchers to obtain precise measurements in this challenging environment.