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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Unobtrusive observations in the deep sea
by Raymond, Erika H., Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, 2008, 141; 3309807
Abstract (Summary)

Traditionally, the only means by which oceanographers could learn more about organisms inhabiting the deep sea was to drag nets through the ocean. Those early methods lead to identification of many new species as well as theories about morphological adaptations but did less to advance the understanding of fine-scale associations and behavior. With the development of submersibles and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), new organisms and new behaviors were discovered. However, several marine animals are equipped with sensory systems sufficiently advanced to detect and evade nets, ROVs and submersibles. To eliminate the impact of bright lights and noisy thrusters a unique, battery-powered video observatory called Eye-in-the-Sea (EITS) was developed. The goal of EITS is to provide an unobtrusive deep-sea viewing platform deployable by an ROV or submersible. Equipped with red or white LED illuminators, an intensified camera system, a photomultiplier tube and an artificial electronic jellyfish, EITS provides a test bed for behavioral studies in response to various stimuli. EITS was designed to observe both rarely-seen species and behavior that conventional systems cannot capture due to their bright white lights and loud thrusters. EITS video analysis from 2004 and 2005 deployments in the Gulf of Mexico illustrated a decreased number of recorded species in the presence of a submersible. Moreover, deployments from Monterey Bay demonstrated that fish time in the field of view decreased during periods of white (broad spectrum) or red (680 nm) illumination when compared to periods of far-red (695 nm) illumination. As a result of these studies, I hypothesized that the lights and noise generated from ROV and submersible thrusters deter and impact many deep-sea creatures. Recent (post World War II) increases in deep-sea fishing efforts, introduction of polluting materials to the deep, and the potential for climate change necessitates a greater understanding of the deep sea (Koslow et al. 2000). New and innovative methods like EITS will help the oceanographic community gain a better ecological perspective of this environment.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Widder, Edith A., Osborn, Thomas R.
School: The Johns Hopkins University
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-B 69/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Biological oceanography
Keywords: Deep-sea, Eye-in-the-Sea, Megafauna, Red light, Time-lapse, Underwater photography
Publication Number: 3309807
ISBN: 978-0-549-57836-9
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