By John Rooney
Jeremy Taylor, Jeff Anderson, and John Rooney of the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division are participating in a PIFSC cruise (SE-13-02) for insular bottomfish surveys on April 15–29 aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette in an area surrounded by the cluster of islands collectively known as Maui Nui: Maui, Moloka`i, Lāna`i, and Kaho`olawe. Their involvement includes operation of a SeaBED autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), in collaboration with scientists from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. The AUV is equipped with a stereo-pair of low-light video cameras and a BlueView imaging sonar. The use of an AUV is 1 of 4 fishery-independent survey methods for the assessment of bottomfish abundance that PIFSC researchers and their partners are working to compare and intercalibrate during a series of cruises.
Taylor also will operate a Phantom remotely operated vehicle (ROV) as part of an optical validation or “ground-truthing” study. The ROV is equipped with a video camera, lights, and a BlueView imaging sonar. The deployments of the ROV during this cruise will be the first attempt by PIFSC to image bottomfishes with an ROV. When a Simrad EK60 sonar detects large schools of fish, Taylor will deploy the vehicle. The ROV will be used to identify fishes and to add to a library of acoustic characteristics of bottomfish species.
For more information about this research cruise, see the announcement on the PIFSC website.