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The challenge

A deeper understanding of the deep sea

The study of marine environments and communities provides us with specific knowledge to ensure sustainable resource and infrastructure development alongside an ability to monitor and mitigate environmental impacts.

The deep sea around Australia, and the world, is poorly understood. The challenge of developing a better understanding of the deep marine environment and its biological diversity is greater than in shallow environments due to its extreme conditions of cold temperature, high pressure and remoteness.

Developing technology and tools to undertake deep water research allows information and data to be gathered and used to advance knowledge about environments at depths hundreds of metres or kilometres below the sea surface.

Our response

A next-gen, deep-water, fish feeding, 3-D camera

We have designed and developed a deep-water camera system for capturing 3-D footage of fish communities in deep marine environments.

The DeepBRUVS studies marine life hundreds of metres or kilometres under the sea.

Once deployed in the deep ocean, the ‘deep-water baited remote underwater video system’ (DeepBRUVS) releases a liquefied bait at selected intervals that attracts marine life in the area. As the creatures arrive to feed, the system’s 3-D video cameras and lights are turned on to record the species and the sizes of the individuals.

DeepBRUVS is unique in that it can be deployed up to 1km under the sea, and for extended periods of up to six months. Recording up to a total of 24 hours of high definition footage, and storing up to 10 litres of liquefied bait, the DeepBRUVS is lightweight and can be deployed using small to medium vessels in near coastal waters.

DeepBRUVS specs

  • Max depth – 1000m
  • Mass – 250 kg (in air) or 15kg (in water)
  • Reserve buoyancy 60kg
  • Max run time – 24 hours
  • Max time on sea floor – 6 months
  • 2 x Panasonic HD video cameras
  • Autonomous control and scheduling system
  • 10 litre bait release system with 1.5m boom

The results

Enhanced capabilities for marine life observations

The unique DeepBRUVS system has been shown to be promising in the study of deep-water marine ecosystems. There is no need to catch or harm the creatures being studied. Information is presently being used to determine the status of deep-water fish communities in marine reserves, and the recovery of depleted fish communities.

The system was deployed successfully in the study of deep water Gulper Sharks and commercial species such as Pink Ling in the Flinders Commonwealth Marine Reserve.

The flexibility of the system in both software and hardware allows for expanded capabilities over time. In the future the system will be equipped with an acoustic Doppler current profiler (ACDP), temperature probe and salinity meter to provide a link between marine life observations, and the surrounding sea conditions.

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