The rise of low-cost ROVs and community submersibles

The following appeared this Monday on the DSM Observer, the only trade journal committed to covering all aspects of the emerging deep-sea mining industry. Though written for the deep-sea mining community, the subject is broadly relevant to a host of ocean industries, so we reprint it below. 


The submarine Noctiluca cruises across the surface. Photo Courtesy Shanee Stopnitzky.

The submarine Noctiluca cruises across the surface. Photo Courtesy Shanee Stopnitzky.

As a community, we discuss mining, management, and monitoring, as well as the regulations that shape them, in terms of governments, major corporations, and research institutions. The deep-sea mining community is small and the complexities of working at abyssal depths engenders collaboration, cooperation, and, in the case of exploitation, compromise. While there are many stakeholders potentially affected by deep-sea mining, only a small proportion of them will ever directly engage with the deep seafloor.

A few extremely wealthy individuals have access to private submersibles and ROVs and have on occasion made them available for research and exploration, but they are the exception. The tools necessary to reach the depths of a hydrothermal vent or polymetallic nodule field are simply too expensive.

That may soon change.

Read More

We Robot, a horrible hagfish massacre, deep, delicious sandwiches, fish slime harvests, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: September 10, 2018.

Foghorn (a call to action)

The U.S. is turning a significant portion of Micronesia into live fire and bombing ranges to train Marines. It has plans to completely take over one island for this purpose and has control of two-thirds of another island.

If people in the U.S. mainland understood the military’s plan for Micronesia they might be alarmed. But this is really happening to U.S. citizens living in America’s territories.

(source)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

The Levee (news from LUMCON)

LUMCON’s DeFelice Marine Center, flooded, as seen from a dormitory balcony. (Photo: Courtesy of LUMCON)

LUMCON’s DeFelice Marine Center, flooded, as seen from a dormitory balcony. (Photo: Courtesy of LUMCON)

Read More

Smart phones are worse than you think, SeaWorld takes a dive, this week in deep-sea mining, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: April 9, 2018

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

GIF by Anthony Antonellis

The Levee (A featured project that emerged from Oceandotcomm)

Read More

See a Great White Shark from the inside with OpenROV, Vaquita, Narwhals, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: November 6, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • Yes, that is the esophagus of a great white shark, in the wild. No, you should not attempt to replicate this experience.

Read More

Save our Marine Monuments, replace confederates with ocean animals, worlds of plastic, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: July 31, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Snooty. Photo via @GWR

Read More

#IAmSeaGrant, Octopus Beats Dolphins, Deep-sea Mining, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: May 29, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Read More

Monday Morning Salvage: December 26, 2016

Welcome back! We missed a week while I was traveling across the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and Guam, so dig in and enjoy!

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • The Mariana Trench!

The Mariana Trench Monument

Read More

Ocean Outreach in an Evolving Online Ecosystem: Transforming the Narrative

This is the transcript of the keynote I delivered at the Fourth International Marine Conservation Congress in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It has been lightly modified for flow.

Read Act I: Science is Storytelling. 

Picture17

In Act I I discussed the underlying structure that frames narrative storytelling, but now I want to talk about how we can use the tools available to us on the internet to transform that narrative into something even more potent.

But before we can do that I have to tilt at some windmills.

Picture18

When we talk about good outreach, we often look to people like Neil deGrasse Tyson, like Bill Nye, like David Attenborough, and like Carl Sagan. These are the paragons of scientific outreach, the icons that we often hold up as examples for what constitutes good outreach. We talk about things like Cosmos, both Sagan’s and deGrasse Tyson’s, Bill Nye the Science Guy and his more recent work combating climate change, or David Attenborough and his astounding Nature Documentaries. Read More

Ocean Outreach in an Evolving Online Ecosystem: Science is Storytelling

This is the transcript of the keynote I delivered at the Fourth International Marine Conservation Congress in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It has been lightly modified for flow. 

Picture2

Good morning and thank you all for coming, especially this early after a long week of conferencing. What I want to do today is talk a little bit about the history of online outreach, talk about how to build effective outreach campaigns, and look towards the future to think about how new technologies are shaping and reshaping the ways in which we think about public engagement with science and conservation.

Picture3So science is storytelling. Sometimes that story an adventure. Sometimes it’s a mystery. Sometimes it’s the dense and weighty exposition of Ulysses and sometimes it’s the absurdity of Finnegan’s Wake, but it is always a story. Read More

Dive the Wreck of the Steamship Tahoe with OpenROV!

OpenROVOne-hundred-fifty meters hardly seems like anything at all.

Standing in the parking lot of OpenROV, I pace out 150 meters. The small sign, hanging against the wall of the battered warehouse, pointing visitors towards the entrance, is clear.

One-hundred fifty meters is less than half a lap around a standard running track. It’s the height of Old St. Paul’s Cathedral, the tallest building in the world, 700 years ago. The fastest man in the world could cover 150 meters in 14 seconds.

On land, 150 meters is barely noteworthy. Plunge into the sea and 150 meters is the wine dark deep. It is the edge of the photic zone, a world of eternal twilight. It is three times deeper than most SCUBA divers will ever venture. At 150 meters, the water pushes down with the weight of 16 atmospheres.

And, if you climb high into the Sierra Mountains and descend into the frigid alpine waters of Lake Tahoe, just off the coast of Glenbrook, Nevada, lying on a steep glacial slope at 150 meters depth is the wreck of the Steamship Tahoe.

Read More