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How do we collect deep sea coral? (Transcript)

After we scan the seafloor and identify our targets, we give the coordinates to the dive teams, and ready our vessel for a journey to the deep. We might use either a manned submersible, or a remotely operated vehicle.

Each type of vessel has different advantages. ROV’s can stay down for long periods of time but they are tethered to the surface ship. Manned submersibles are untethered, move freely, and provide a rare human perspective. Regardless of the platform we use, at some point we must engage a manipulator arm to pluck a deep-sea coral colony and bring it to the surface.

This summer I went collecting with a giant robot in 1,500 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico. The most important skills I needed were patience, experience, and familiarity with invertebrate zoology and taxonomy. If you are interested in more information about this, go to the Web page called, “The Life Cycle of a Specimen” and you will discover what we do with a coral once we bring it to the surface.

Peter refers to this Web page in his video:

The Life Cycle of a Specimen, Sep. 26 Log #2
This essay is a clear and concise overview of why deep sea corals are collected and how they are used in research for both medical and conservation efforts.


Related Links

Peter Etnoyer Profile


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