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Getting the bigger picture: Using precision Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) videography to acquire high-definition mosaic images of newly discovered hydrothermal vents in the Southern Ocean
Marsh, L.; Copley, J.T.; Huvenne, V.A.I.; Tyler, P.; the Isis ROV Facility (2013). Getting the bigger picture: Using precision Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) videography to acquire high-definition mosaic images of newly discovered hydrothermal vents in the Southern Ocean. Deep-Sea Res., Part II, Top. Stud. Oceanogr. 92: 124-135. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.02.007
In: Deep-Sea Research, Part II. Topical Studies in Oceanography. Pergamon: Oxford. ISSN 0967-0645; e-ISSN 1879-0100
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Hydrothermal vents
    Image processing
    Remotely operated vehicles
Author keywords
    Faunal distribution; Baseline survey; Seafloor massive sulphides (SMS

Authors  Top 
  • Marsh, L.
  • Copley, J.T.
  • Huvenne, V.A.I.
  • Tyler, P.
  • the Isis ROV Facility

Abstract
    Direct visual observations from submersible vehicles at hydrothermal vents typically only reveal a fraction of the vent environment at any one time. We describe the use of precision Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) videography to produce extensive mosaic images of hydrothermal vent chimneys and surrounding seafloor areas (c. 250 m2), with sufficient resolution to determine distributions of macro- and megafauna. Doppler velocity log navigation (DVLNAV) was used to follow overlapping vertical survey lines in a fixed plane facing a vent chimney, while acquiring high-definition video imagery using a forward-looking camera. The DVLNAV also enabled the vehicle to follow overlapping horizontal survey lines while acquiring seafloor imagery from a downward-looking video camera and mapping variations in seawater temperature. Digital stills images extracted from video were used to compile high-resolution composite views of the surveyed areas. Applying these image acquisition techniques at vent fields on the East Scotia Ridge, Southern Ocean, revealed consistent patterns of faunal zonation around vent sources, variations in proportions of faunal assemblage types on different faces of a vent chimney, and differences in proportions of faunal assemblages between two different vent fields. The technique can therefore be used to determine the composition and spatial distribution of fauna across complex areas of topography, such as vent fields, where mosaic images of vertical structures cannot currently be acquired using other platforms such as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). These image acquisition techniques, demonstrated here in the first ROV dives at newly discovered vent fields, may offer an appropriate technology for rapid baseline studies required by the potential mining of seafloor massive sulfides (SMS).

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