Ocean Research Methods and Technology ppt NOTES

Ocean Research
Methods and Technology
Science 8: Water Systems
Curriculum Outcomes Addressed
• Provide examples of how technologies used to investigate the ocean floor have improved over time (110-8)
• Identify some strengths and weaknesses of technologies used to investigate the ocean floor (210-3)
• Provide examples of public and private Canadian institutions that support scientific and technological research
involving the oceans (112-5)
• Describe some positive and negative effects of marine technologies in the ocean (113-2)
• A submersible is a small vehicle or craft designed for under
water research and exploration.
• Submersibles differ from submarines because submarines
are fully autonomous craft, capable of renewing its own
power and breathing air, whereas a submersibles are usually
supported by a surface vessel, platform, or shore team.
• There are two categories of submersibles:
– Manned craft: HOVs
– Unmanned craft: ROVs, AUVs
• Submersibles are used for Submersibles have many uses,
including oceanography, underwater archaeology, ocean
exploration, equipment recovery, and underwater
videography and photography.
Manned Submersibles (Carry people)
HOV (Human Occupied Vehicle)
Unmanned Submersibles (Do not carry people)
(RemotelyOperated Vehicle)
Underwater Vehicle)
Manned Submersibles: HOVs
• HOV stands for “Human Occupied Vehicle”
• Description: HOVs are submersible crafts that take
people under water and to the depths of the ocean
• Use: To allow scientists to get a first hand experience
of studying the ocean. HOVs are used to
• Advantages: Unlike ROVs and AUVs, HOVs can carry
• Disadvantages: The amount of time spent under
water and the depth of travel is limited by having
people on board. They are quite costly to build and
HOV Examples
• The Bathyscaphe Trieste was the first manned submersible to
reach the deepest part of the ocean (11 km deep) in 1960.
• The Jialong submersible can reach depths of up to 7,000
meters below sea level.
• Among the most well-known and longest-in-operation
submersibles is the DSV Alvin (deep-submergence research
vessel), which takes 3 people to depths of up to 4,500
metres deep. Alvin is owned by the United States Navy, and
has made over 4,400 dives.
HOV Example #1: ALVIN
Alvin is built to withstand the crushing pressure of the
deep ocean. The titanium-hulled sub can remain
submerged for 10 hours under normal conditions,
although its life support system will allow the sub and
its occupants to remain underwater for 72 hours. It is
capable of maneuvering around rugged bottom areas
and can hover in mid-water to perform scientific tasks
or take still and video photography.
Manned Submersibles
Bathyscaphe Trieste
Jialong Submersible
Unmanned Submersibles: ROVs and AUVs
• Because the depths of the ocean are very dark and
extremely cold (around 1°C), scientists use unmanned
robotic craft to explore them.
• There are two main types of unmanned submersibles:
• ROVs (Remotely-Operated Vehicles)
• AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles)
» These have different qualities so they are
used for different tasks; the main difference
is that while ROVs are physically connected
to the ship by a cable, AUVs are not
connected to the ship.
Unmanned Submersible: ROV
• ROV stands for “Remotely-Operated Vehicle”
• Description: Free-floating unmanned submersibles
• Use: To complete complex manipulations (i.e., get an oil well
ready for drilling at the bottom of the ocean floor) and for
sampling the seafloor
• Advantages: ROVs are free-floating and not connected to a
ship; The vehicle is self-sufficient – it carries its own energy
source and is programmed with instructions that allow it to
carry out an underwater mission without assistance from an
operator on the surface; it can go on missions that
• Disadvantages: It cannot carry scientists; they are costly to
build and maintain.
ROV Example: ROPOS
• An example of an ROV is the ROPOS (Remotely Operated
Platform for Ocean Science), which was originally built in
Vancouver for ocean research. The ROPOS is connected to
a ship by a fibre optic cable and is controlled by a pilot
onboard the ship. The cable provides power and
communication to ROPOS and allows live video and other
data to be sent back to the ship as it is being collected.
The ROPOS is able to dive 5000 meters deep (5km).
• The ROPOS has a variety of sampling equipment attached
– Video cameras
– Robotic arms for taking samples of rocks or organisms
– Bottles for collecting water samples
– A “biobox” for collecting biological samples
– A suction sampler that can “vacuum” up sediments/organisms
Schematic image of
ROV deployment
and support
The ROPOS ROV – Instrument Example
• Using a custom designed "push-core" sampler, ROPOS uses
one of its manipulator arms to collect 12,000+ year old clay
for geological analysis.
Unmanned Submersible: AUV
• AUV stands for “Autonomous Underwater Vehicle”
• Description: Unmanned submersibles that are often attached to
a research vessel by a tether/cable
• Use: AUVs are best for surveys that can be programmed ahead of
time and accomplished without supervision; they are used to
measure ocean water characteristics such as temperature and
salinity, map the seabed, inspect subsea installations (i.e.,
pipelines), and to lay underwater cable.
• Advantages: It can undertake missions over long ranges at
reasonable speeds; Aside from programming the submersible,
there is not a lot of time investment because scientists can
program the AUV in advance; easy to handle because of small size
• Disadvantages: AUVs are connected to a ship by a cable, so their
movement is limited by the length of the cable and the location
of the ship; limited control once they are deployed; their small
size prevents them from storing capabilities
AUV Example: ABE (Autonomous Benthic Explorer)
One specific example of an AUV is the ABE (Autonomous
Benthic Explorer). The ABE runs on batteries and can stay
under water for more than a day. The ABE is unattached
from the ship and houses a computer. Among other
things, the ABE can create detailed maps of the vent
areas, measure water properties such as temperature and
salinity, and detect the presence of microscopic life.
AUV Examples
Gravity Corer
• Gravity corers are used to drill into the ocean floor
to collect samples of seafloor sediments (sand, rock,
etc.) to find out information about it.
• Gravity corers are always connected to the ship.
• It is dropped off the side of a ship until it hits the
ocean floor. It then drills into the ocean floor,
collecting samples of sea floor sediments as it is
pulled up again (similarly to a straw).
• Advantages: It is simple to use, sturdy (does not
break easily), and it does not take a lot of time or
money to maintain it.
• Disadvantages: It can be heavy and awkward to
Gravity Corer
Sample collected from the sea bed
Sediment Trap
• Description: Sediment traps are containers used to collect
particles falling to the ocean floor such as dead sea
creatures, tiny shells, dust, and minerals. It is a broad funnel
with a collecting jar at the bottom.
• Use: The information collected helps scientists understand
how fast nutrients and other elements move from the ocean
surface to the deep ocean (ocean circulation).
• Advantages: Currently, this is the only way to get data about
the amounts and kinds of material that surface waters
transport to the deep ocean; Easy to used; fairly inexpensive
• Disadvantages: It takes a long time to collect enough
sediment to study; the traps have to stay vertical (upright) in
order to be accurate, so their tilt angle has to be monitored
Sediment Trap
Spray Glider
• Description: Robotic submarines that navigate underwater
without a human crew onboard and without cables
connecting them to research vessels at the sea surface.
They carry a variety of sensors, and are programmed by
researchers to go where they are needed to do research.
• Use: They record temperature, salinity, and movement of
areas of the oceans. These measurements are used to
research ocean circulation and its effect on the global
• Advantages: They can provide a look at entire sections of
ocean basins. Unlike humans, who need to stop for
breaks, gliders can stay underwater as long as 6 months
and travel at a speed of 20 kilometers per day.
• Disadvantages: They are sometimes put off path by ocean
currents because they are light weight, and they cannot
go deeper than 1,500 meters at this time, so the depth of
research is limited.
Spray Glider
Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP)
• Description: Similar to Sonar, the ADCP is a current
meter used to measure water current velocities
using Doppler Effect sound waves that are scattered
back from the particles within the water.
• Use: To measure water current speed/velocity and
ocean depth
• Advantages: ADCPs are much more accurate than
long strings of current meters that were used in the
past; they can measure up to 1000 meters of depth
• Disadvantages: They run out of batteries quickly; If
the water is very clear, the pings may not hit enough
particles to produce reliable data; bubbles in
turbulent water or swimming fish can cause the
instrument to miscalculate the current
Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP)
TowCam Underwater Camera
• Description & Use: Specially designed digital camera
system that photographs the seafloor as it is towed along
the ocean bottom behind a research vessel. It is also
equipped to take samples of water and collect rocks from
the seafloor; It snaps a new photo every 10-15 seconds.
• Advantages: It provides very high quality digital imagery of
seafloor terrains to 6,000 meters depth; it can also collect
rock/lava samples and water samples; unlike regular
underwater cameras, the TowCam can withstand the extreme
environment of the ocean bottom – it can take pictures in
total blackness, crushing pressure, and freezing
• Disadvantages: It cannot be "steered" because it is towed
behind a ship; The images from the TowCam are not viewable
in real-time. They have to be downloaded from the digital
camera once the system is back on deck, a process that takes
about 40 minutes
TowCam Underwater Camera
Sound Navigation and Ranging (SONAR)
• Description & Use: A system for
the detection of objects under
water, and for measuring the
water's depth and map out the
seafloor by emitting sound pulses
and detecting or measuring their
return time.
• Advantages: It is very accurate
and not too expensive
• Disadvantages: SONAR waves can
interfere with whale and dolphin
New vs. Old #1: Scuba Diving Gear Improvements
Use & Difference between old
and new technology
Category & Use
How has the new technology
improved over the old one?
To explore the ocean and Heavy, uncomfortable scuba
allow humans to stay
helmets and masks; heavy dive
underwater for longer
suits; heavy and large oxygen
periods of time; Hundreds tanks; limited the amount of
of years ago they used
time they could stay under
bamboo-like wooden tubes water; difficult to move around
as snorkels
To explore the ocean and Light-weight suits and scuba
allow humans to stay
gear; more flexible masks;
underwater for longer
lighter and smaller oxygen
periods of time
tanks; longer diving time
New vs. Old #2: Submersible Improvements
Category & Use
How has the new technology
improved over the old one?
Made of wood; Could not stay
submersed for very long periods of
time; had leaks; trouble with buoyancy;
could not go very deep
Made of metals; Can stay underwater
for longer periods of time and can go to
very deep parts of the ocean; can
withstand the cold and pressure of the
bottom of the ocean
New vs. Old #3: Sample Collection Improvements
Category & Use
To collect samples of
Sampling sea floor sediments
and marine snow
samples; Towed behind
a research ship
Mocness To collect samples of
Highsea floor sediments
and marine snow
Sampling samples; Towed behind
a research ship.
Use & Difference between old and
new technology
How has the new technology
improved over the old one?
Regular net that was dropped into
the ocean to collect samples of
sediments and marine snow.
Automatic/controllable; Multiple
opening and closing net system;
Can be more controlled; can target
specific materials by using an
‘environmental sensing system’.
New vs. Old #4: Sediment Corers
Category & Use
How has the new technology
improved over the old one?
To collect sediments
and study the ocean
The gravity corer disturbs
sediment samples and can only dig
down about 5 meters.
To collect sediments
and study the ocean
The Piston Corer provides longer,
less disturbed, and more complete
samples. It can dig deeper than
the gravity corer. Cores up to 30
meters are possible in soft
sediments and muds.
New vs. Old #5: Scuba Diving Equipment
Category & Use
To allow people to
breathe underwater
and to explore the
ocean for ocean
research or as a
How has the new technology
improved over the old one?
Relied either on breath-hold, air
pumped from the surface, or a
breathing tube such as a snorkel;
very heavy suits, including a large
metal helmet
To allow people to
Carry own source of breathing
breathe underwater gas (compressed gas); scuba suits
and to explore the
are made of softer and waterocean for ocean
tight material; can stay under
research or as a
water long and dive deeper
Canadian Ocean Research Organizations
#1: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
and Oceans including
It is one of Canada’s largest
marine institutes. It is the
center for research on coastal
waters of BC, the Northeastern
Pacific Ocean, the western
Canadian Arctic and navigable
fresh waters east to the
Alberta border. Its more than
250 scientists and researchers
are dedicated to providing upto-date information on all
elements of oceanography,
including fisheries and ocean
research, environmental
science and hydrography.
It has become a major
player in efforts to restore
and manage coastal
ecosystems, and produces
more than 20 per cent of
Canada’s nautical charts.
Studies range from the
effects of global warming
on marine ecosystems, to
contaminants in Arctic ice,
tracking ‘red tide’ in
shellfish, the nature of oil
spills, and even predictions
on where and when a
tsunami will strike.
#2: Environment Canada
Environment Canada was
Environment Several established to find ways of
locations protecting the environment,
across conserving the country's
Canada natural heritage, and
providing weather and
meteorological information to
keep Canadians informed and
It is currently leading an
expedition of 10 Canadian
scientists onto the frozen
Arctic Ocean to learn
more about how
pollutants move from the
air, to the ice and
ultimately into the
northern ecosystem.
#3: National Research Council Institute for Ocean
Technology (NRC)
Canada's national centre for
Several ocean technology research &
(National locations development. It was
across established in 1985 to
Canada support the development of
Institute for
innovative technologies in the
private sector and to assist
oceans-related public
Research is conducted on
technologies for use in
ocean observation,
marine safety, Arctic
operations and
performance evaluation.
Major facilities operated
by the Institute include a
200-metre Towing Tank, a
75-metre by 32-metre
Offshore Engineering
Basin, and a 90-metre Ice
Tank, the longest in the
#4: Ocean Networks Canada
ONC is a non-profit
University society, established in
of Victoria, 2007 by the University
Canada of Victoria under the BC
Society Act. Under a
Agreement with the
the purpose of ONC is to
govern, manage and develop:
the Ocean Networks Canada
Observatory (comprised of the
networks) as a national
research platform; and the ONC
Centre for Enterprise and
Engagement as a federal centre
of excellence for
commercialization and
research. Their mission is to
enable transformative ocean
research for the advancement
of science and technology and
for the benefit of Canada.
#5: Bedford Institute of Oceanography
Location History/About
Halifax, The Bedford Institute of
Institute of
Nova Oceanography is the
Oceanography Scotia, largest ocean research
Canada station in Canada.
Established in 1962 as
Canada's first, and
currently largest, federal
centre for oceanographic
BIO houses several
organizations from various
federal departments which
perform targeted research
mandated by government or
in partnership, advise on
marine environments, provide
navigational charts, and
respond to environmental
#6: Institute of Ocean Sciences
Institute of
Operated by Fisheries
Vancouver and Oceans Canada
and is one of the
largest marine research
Columbia centres in Canada; It is
made up of more than
250 scientists and
Provide up-to-date
information on all elements of
oceanography, including
fisheries and ocean research,
environmental science and
hydrography (surveying and
mapping the ocean); they
restore and manage coastal
ecosystems, and produce
more than 20% of Canada’s
nautical charts.
Positive Effects of Ocean Research
Negative Effects of Ocean Research
1) Helps us learn more about ocean
species, which can help us preserve
and protect them if they are
1) Some research tools/methods
disturb the ocean floor (i.e., bottomtrawling – dragging a net across the
ocean floor to collect samples)
2) Helps us find out the causes of
ocean species diseases and
decreases of biodiversity, which is
important for our ecosystem
2) Some ocean research tools may
pollute the ocean due to their fuel
source release or by getting detached
and lost at sea.
3) Helps us understand the
connection between the ocean and
our atmosphere and weather
3) Some ocean research tools (such as
Sonar) can have negative impacts on
dolphins and whales because they
interfere with their sound waves (loss
of “hearing” and even death)

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