Biologists and engineers in the
Advanced Survey Technologies-Benthic Resources Group
have been using a Phantom DS4 remotely operated vehicle (ROV) named 'Sebastes' since 1999 to investigate squid fecundity and spawning habitat,
abundance of rockfishes (genus Sebastes) and the endangered
white abalone. The sampling demands
for different research projects and keeping up with the latest technology both require extensive and continuous modifications to the vehicle.
While the use of SCUBA diving has allowed biologists to study a number of marine species, excursions are limited by depth and time. Employing an ROV
in research overcomes these limitations but introduces another set of complications. Equipment and operational complexities are second to
producing statistically useful data from surveys. In an effort to produce statistically robust results, large amounts of visual, physical, and
geospatial data are gathered through a network of devices. These data are used for detailed analyses involving investigations of possible linkages
between physical and biological trends and the distributions of various marine organisms.
The Phantom ROV (Sebastes) being deployed from the FSV Bell M. Shimada.
A detailed report of the vehicle components, operational procedures, and survey methods can be found