All Things Marine: Above and Below

Latest update June 12, 2019 Started on February 4, 2019
sea

With an ROV students will be able to glimpse marine creatures undisturbed in their natural environment. These visuals will complement handling the real animals and increase the understanding of life at the bottom of the ocean.

February 4, 2019
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In The Field

Success! We did a test run in saltwater today and captured video of sea anemones and sea vases! Our first animals! We also saw periwinkles, barnacles, seaweed and lots of plankton in the water.


We also had a few middle school students and a teacher complete test runs today while on the wharf.

We are still dealing with the issue of not being able to see what is on the screen when outside, due to the glare. Suggestions to overcome this issue would be greatly appreciated.

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Preparation

We have had a very wet spring in our area and finally had a nice day to take the Trident underwater drone out for another test trial. This time we ventured outside to a lake. We are getting better at understanding the controls but need to work on our consistency. We are a bit like teenagers that just got our learner's permits, a bit too much jerky stop and go!


We were impressed with the quality of the video. This time we saw lots of rocks and grass, hopefully next time we will have an animal to report!

We tested out the controller and the OpenROV app from a tablet and a cell phone. It was nice to have the flexibility to control the Trident with different devices.

One obstacle that we encountered was the glare from the sun on the screens. We had difficulty seeing the screens in the bright light. As we were in shallow water it was fine because we could see the Trident but we will need to fix the problem before we move to deeper water.

A third trial was conducted from a kayak. The lightweight and compact construction of the Trident worked really well in this application.

Our next task is to find a saltwater location to test the Trident. Stay tuned!

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We are very excited to announce the Huntsman was chosen to receive a Trident Underwater Drone as part of the Science Exploration Education (S.E.E.) Initiative with National Geographic Open Explorer!


Before launching the Trident in the strong currents of the Bay of Fundy we went for a test run in the pool at the local hotel, the Algonquin Resort. We novices that didn't grow up with video games had a bit of a learning curve. Hopefully, practice makes perfect! I am sure the students will have an easier time maneuvering the Trident with the controller.

A few bumps into the walls and along the bottom saw us unintentionally test out the durability of the Trident. We are thankful for the rubber along the edges of the Trident! We didn't see any marine life in the pool but did end up giving one swimmer a bit of a fright. We definitely need a second test run before we launch the Trident in the Bay!

Thank you to our collaborators and supporters that helped to get this underwater drone to the Huntsman Marine Science Centre. We are thankful to the S.E.E. Initiative for choosing our expedition.

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For over 30 years students taking part in field courses at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre have collected data on benthic invertebrate communities in Passamaquoddy Bay. Long-term data sets such as this can be valuable for seeing changes over time and setting a baseline.


As we move ahead we would like to demonstrate to students how technology, such as an ROV, can be used to collect information about benthic communities.

Data collected by students is available on our website (www.huntsmanmarine.ca/education-outreach/resources/)..) Currently posted is survey information from 2014-2018. Data previous to that can be accessed by contacting us.

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Expedition Background

Join us virtually as we show students who visit the Huntsman Marine Science Centre, New Brunswick, Canada that it can be fun to learn scientifically, through ‘hands-on’ activities. Our programs help students explore the delicate balance of the marine environment and they leave with a new appreciation of the oceans and their future. We learn best by ‘doing’; being involved and handling hardy marine invertebrates provides a wonderful introduction to the oceans diversity.


Every week a new batch of students arrives keen to learn, but not stray out of their comfortable terrestrial habitat. We walk on the ocean floor when the tide is low. We stay dry on the deck of the boat. We stay in our comfort zone and must bring the marine animals out of theirs to observe them. We would be hard pressed to reverse the tables without a huge investment in dive equipment and training. The Bay of Fundy is just too cold and the current too strong. BUT with a small ROV students would be able to get a glimpse of the animals undisturbed in their natural environment. Sea anemones would be open, sea cucumbers would have their feeding tentacles spread, the tube feet would be extended on the echinoderms and with luck they might see a fish. These visuals would complement handling the real animals and increase the understanding of life at the bottom of the ocean.

These are the expeditions we propose and each week we will explore a new underwater location.

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