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Tools & Technology


The hive mind behind a swarm of submersibles

The vastness of our oceans demands extensive study methods. Erin Fischell, an assistant scientist in the Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, has been experimenting with a swarm of autonomous underwater vehicles that aim to both minimize cost and maximize the scope of scientific assessment at sea.

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The Rise of Orpheus (Part 2)

orpheus

WHOI’s new deep-sea autonomous underwater vehicle moves one step closer to exploring the hadal zone—the deepest region of the ocean—to search for new clues about the limits of life on Earth, and possibly beyond.

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Erin Fischell wins Moore Inventor Fellowship

Erin Fischell tests a new autonomous underwater vehicle

Erin Fischell, an assistant scientist in Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has been awarded the Moore Inventor Fellowship for her work on ocean robotics.

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New Eyes in the Twilight Zone

Members of WHOI’s Ocean Twilight Zone team, particularly the lab led by marine biologist Annette Govindarajan, are pioneering the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling and analysis to provide a more finely tuned picture of what lives deep beneath the surface of the ocean.

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Lightning Deployment

The Sentry Team and deck crew on the research vessel Atlantis had to move quickly in order to launch the autonomous underwater vehicle between squalls off the West Coast recently.

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Extraordinary Footage of Octopus Garden

Need a break? Sit back, relax, and enjoy this stunning and calming underwater footage from Octopus Garden, two miles below the ocean’s surface in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), where thousands of mother octopuses were discovered nursing their eggs. Meditative soundtrack included.

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Diving to Octopus Garden in a Submarine

Check out this amazing footage taken from WHOI’s submersible Alvin in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), where thousands of mother octopuses were discovered nursing their eggs in a place known as Octopus Garden. WHOI principal engineer Andy Bowen talks with Chad King, a research specialist with MBNMS, about the animals and how federally-protected marine sanctuaries are critical to the health and protection of these incredible ecosystems.

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Discover Octopus Garden

Watch this amazing footage and learn some cool facts about octopus living two miles below the ocean’s surface, where thousands of mother octopuses were discovered nursing their eggs in a place known as Octopus Garden in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS).

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Best of Constant Wonder

BYU Radio

WHOI Research Engineer Jeff Kaeli talks about the 2017discovery of the San José, a sunken ship from 1708 loaded with treasure valued up to $17 billion. (segment begins 24:05)

The Rise of Orpheus (Part 1)

WHOI’s new deep-sea autonomous underwater vehicle moves one step closer to exploring the hadal zone—the deepest region of the ocean—to search for new clues about the limits of life on Earth, and possibly beyond.

Read More

Observing Mooring Deployment at Pioneer Array

Logan Johnsen on bridge

Logan Johnsen, chief mate on the research vessel Neil Armstrong, stood watch on the bridge recently during a mooring deployment at the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Pioneer Array. Instruments on the array record physical, chemical, and biological data from the seafloor to the surface and above around the clock, 365 days a year. Twice each year, a team from WHOI visits the Pioneer site, located about 100 miles south of Marthas Vineyard, to replace all of the moorings in the array and to deploy autonomous underwater vehicles that record data further afield.

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Orpheus explores the ocean’s greatest depths

Orpheus, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) developed by WHOI, begins its descent into Veatch Canyon on the continental shelf off of the U.S. Northeast during one of several dives from the R/V Neil Armstrong in September 2019.

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Rapid Response at Sea

As sea ice continues to melt in the Arctic and oil exploration expands in the region, the possibility of an oil spill occurring under ice is higher than ever. To help first responders cope with oil trapped under ice, ocean engineers are developing undersea vehicles that can map oil spills to improve situational awareness and decision making during an emergency.

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Basking sharks filmed by an AUV for the first time

Three things you may not know about basking sharks:
1.     The basking shark is the 2nd largest fish in the ocean.
2.     While it’s gaping mouth can fit a human, it filter feeds on tiny plankton.
3.     WHOI’s SharkCam captured the first Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) footage of basking sharks.
Learn more here: go.whoi.edu/basking-sharkcam

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Minion robots in the Ocean Twilight Zone

Phytoplankton use sunlight and carbon dioxide to grow, forming the base of the ocean food web. Phytoplankton are eaten by zooplankton, which are eaten by other animals. Dead zooplankton and other particles become marine snow drifting in the ocean, but how much marine snow sinks below the sun-lit ocean surface? Scientists are developing a new device
that will follow marine snow into the ocean’s twilight zone.

The MINION is a small (2 Liters) inexpensive instrument. It is equipped with… cameras, seawater sensors, acoustic recorder, ballast weight. Once deployed, MINION will sink to the twilight zone and drift with currents.

Cameras on the side record the rate and quantity of particles falling through the ocean. Falling particles also accumulate on a clear glass panel. A camera on top will record the particle type and accumulation rate.

Similar images have revealed the twilight zone is a perpetual snowstorm, of organic debris. Particles such as this fecal pellet from a jellyfish-like salp are extremely carbon-rich. Pellets like this will sink quickly to deeper waters, or even become buried in the seafloor. Any marine snow that reaches the deep ocean means less carbon in the atmosphere.

The MINION is designed to listen for underwater sound sources. This will determine their location as they drift.

After a MINION has finished its mission, it will release weight and float to the surface. At the surface, it sends a homing signal so it can be recovered. The next generation of MINION will send compressed data-sets via satellite. Allowing them to be deployed by the dozens. Data from MINIONS will help scientists learn more about the ocean’s role in Earth’s climate system.

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Local fishermen assist leatherback research

Wicked Local

After several years, Kara Dodge began to do other work with turtles, in particular a “TurtleCam” project with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution engineer Amy Kukulya. The project involved tagging and tailing turtles with autonomous underwater vehicles to study diving behavior, eating habits, and assess ways to reduce entanglements.