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Ready to Dive

In 2009, when WHOI Senior Scientist Chris German wanted to look for some of the deepest black smoker chimineys and hydrothermal vents on Earth, he turned to the hybrid remotely operated vehicle (HROV) Nereus. This one-of-a-kind vehicle operates as either an autonomous, free-swimming robot to conduct wide-area surveys, or as a tethered vehicle for close-up investigation and sampling. German and colleagues deployed Nereus in the Caribbean Sea at the Mid-Cayman spreading center, where black smoker chimneys and hydrothermal vents are often found. By the end of the cruise, the scientists identified vent plumes in three areas. One, located three miles below the sea surface, is the deepest black smoker discovered to date. (Photo by Jill McDermott, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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