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Marine Technology

We wouldn't know much about the ocean without the work of scientists and engineers over the last couple of centuries. Well motivated men and women have worked hard to produce wonderful machines that enable us to dive deep into the ocean and explore the abyss. In most cases today this is done virtually, using machines that take cameras, sensors or collecting tools deep into the ocean. For example at my workplace we have a Remote Operated Vehicle able to reach 6500m into the ocean's depths.

Some machines can operate without any human guidance after they have been launched - from 1997 to 2002 I was part of the team that introduced the Autosub autonomous underwater vehicle to the world of marine science. Autosub has continuously improved, and can now dive to 6000m. The current 'Autosub LR' vehicles can stay at sea for months on end, and are being joined by a new generation of robot surface vehicles too.


Autosub 1a on trial, West coast Scotland - by Steve


Our main workhorse instrument at sea is the CTD - stands for Conductivity, Temperature and Depth. It's a system that lowers a package of water bottles and sensors from a special crane on the ship to full ocean depth:

Recovering CTD, Indian Ocean, photo by Steve

Once on board you need to gather water samples - sometimes a cold and wet task! Photo by Steve


Sometimes you've got to be careful not to get washed overboard - but it is beautiful out there..