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Getting the bigger picture: Using precision Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) videography to acquire high-definition mosaic images of newly discovered hydrothermal vents in the Southern Ocean

Record type: Article

Direct visual observations from submersible vehicles at hydrothermal vents typically only reveal a fraction of the vent environment at any one time. We describe the use of precision Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) videography to produce extensive mosaic images of hydrothermal vent chimneys and surrounding seafloor areas (c. 250 m2), with sufficient resolution to determine distributions of macro and megafauna. Doppler velocity log navigation (DVLNAV) was used to follow overlapping vertical survey lines in a fixed plane facing a vent chimney, while acquiring high-definition video imagery using a forward-looking camera. The DVLNAV also enabled the vehicle to follow overlapping horizontal survey lines while acquiring seafloor imagery from a downward-looking video camera and mapping variations in seawater temperature. Digital stills images extracted from video were used to compile high-resolution composite views of the surveyed areas. Applying these image acquisition techniques at vent fields on the East Scotia Ridge, Southern Ocean, revealed consistent patterns of faunal zonation around vent sources, variations in proportions of faunal assemblage types on different faces of a vent chimney, and differences in proportions of faunal assemblages between two different vent fields. The technique can therefore be used to determine the composition and spatial distribution of fauna across complex areas of topography, such as vent fields, where mosaic images of vertical structures cannot currently be acquired using other platforms such as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). These image acquisition techniques, demonstrated here in the first ROV dives at newly discovered vent fields, may offer an appropriate technology for rapid baseline studies required by the potential mining of seafloor massive sulfides (SMS).

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Marsh, Leigh, Copley, Jonathan T., Huvenne, Veerle A.I., Tyler, Paul A. and Isis ROV Facility, [Unknown] (2013) Getting the bigger picture: Using precision Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) videography to acquire high-definition mosaic images of newly discovered hydrothermal vents in the Southern Ocean Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 92, pp. 124-135. (doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.02.007).

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Accepted/In Press date: 8 February 2013
Published date: August 2013
Keywords: Remotely Operated Vehicle, Hydrothermal vents, Image processing, Faunal distribution, Baseline survey, Seafloor massive sulphides (SMS)
Organisations: Ocean Biochemistry & Ecosystems, Marine Geoscience


Local EPrints ID: 351792
ISSN: 0967-0645
PURE UUID: 6bed89a2-ff85-4a3c-8599-be9f94ae4137

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Date deposited: 26 Apr 2013 08:56
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 04:23

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Author: Leigh Marsh
Author: Veerle A.I. Huvenne
Author: Paul A. Tyler
Author: [Unknown] Isis ROV Facility

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