All posts by Stefan Williams

WA Surveys

Our WA campaign is done! We traversed 750km of coastline- from Hamelin Bay to the Abrolhos islands, hit 43 survey sites and took a whopping 840 thousand images of the ocean floor! Our Sirius and Nimbus AUVs worked in tandem, snapping away underwater as we rocked and rolled through some WA’s finest southerlies. Special thanks to @imos_australia @ausmarineparks @universitywa @sydney_uni @dongara_marine and Bass Marine Dongara for helping make this trip happen!

More sea floor pics to come once we process the Abrolhos images 🙂

SA Surveys

The team joined scientists from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) to survey sites inside and outside of Marine National Parks offshore of Kangaroo Island.  Over the course of two days hemmed in by weather the team completed 6 deployments, collecting 45,493 seafloor images.  See our instagram post.

IMOS AUV surveys at Ningaloo

Our IMOS AUV Facility team spent last week surveying reefs at Ningaloo in WA.  These surveys were part of our IMOS AUV Facility benthic monitoring program and repeat transects first surveyed over a decade ago.  We were working with colleagues at CSIRO to collect this data and to analyse the resulting benthic images to document changes in the coral reef and sponge communities offshore of Ningaloo.  In addition to managing the deployment and recovery of the AUV, the team were also treated to some outstanding displays by the native wildlife.

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Exciting news from Antikythera

Very exciting news from Antikythera in Greece, where we conducted mapping with the AUV Sirius in 2014 and 2015. The archaeologists have announced the discovery of 2000 year old bones on the site. The map generated by our AUV is featured in this piece on the Nature News site and shows the location of some of the artefacts recovered from the site.
Very proud of the whole team involved in supporting this work, and in particular Oscar and Christian who helped make it all happen.

IMOS AUV Facility surveys on the Great Barrier Reef 2015

In early September 2015 we conducted surveys at sites on the Great Barrier Reef in collaboration with AIMS and JCU.  This involved surveys at Myrmidon reef and a number of inner and outer edge reefs at sites to the south of Myrmidon, including Tink, Wilson and Faraday reefs.  These sites are designed to be part of the long term monitoring program being supported by the facility.

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Return to Antikythera 2015

In June, Christian, Oscar and Stefan spent a week in Greece at the site of the Antikythera shipwreck.  We were once again working on mapping the site of this first century BC shipwreck.  The 2015 AUV work is aimed at producing a complete map of the entire wreck site to provide divers with a detailed map with which to plan excavations and log finds during the diving operations to take place later in the year.

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We also published the first paper describing the AUV work at Antikythera in the Field and Service Robotics conference held in Toronto in June 2015.

IMOS AUV and SOI cruise to Scott Reef, WA

We are currently on a cruise deploying multiple, coordinated autonomous systems at Scott Reef on the Australian North West Shelf, approximately 400km north of Broome, WA.  These deployments are seeking advance two related and complementary threads in oceanographic robotics:

  1. robotic force-multiplication of research vessels using coordinated and complementary vehicles, and
  2. untended, precisely navigated groups of small long-range benthic imaging robots.

This expedition has brought together a group of international PIs who have significant experience and resources in marine robotics field operations as well as a decade-long history of productive collaboration.  Time on the Schmidt Ocean Institution vessel R/V Falkor has provided the opportunity to leverage our independent research programs into a robotic seafloor observing system of unprecedented scale and heterogeneity.  The fielded system comprise autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), a glider, a Lagrangian imaging float and an autonomous surface vessels (ASV), all working collectively to deliver a comprehensive synoptic view of the benthos, seafloor structure, and relevant local oceanography.

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Marine imaging workshop at JAMSTEC

In collaboration with the Ocean Perception Laboratory at the Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) at the University of Tokyo, we organised a marine imaging workshop at JAMSTEC on March 12th, 2015.  The main aim of the workshop was to talk about the scientific rationale and the data collected during two cruises completed in 2014 in Japanese coastal waters.  These cruises resulted in large scale, 3D visual maps of the seafloor to help interpret the distribution of seafloor habitats in the Tōhoku region, and in hydrothermal vent fields in the Okinawa trough.  Talks focused the interpretation of the data and the distribution of various benthic organisms.

This trip is part of of the project ‘Understanding Marine Habitats off Tōhoku Using Underwater Robots’ and is supported by the Commonwealth through the Australia-Japan Foundation, which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.horizontal1_RGB


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IMOS AUV Surveys at Maatsuyker Island CMR

The IMOS AUV group have been working with the University of Tasmania aboard the AMC vessel RV Bluefin to survey sites within the Commonwealth Marine Reserve at Maatsuyker Island on the South West tip of Tasmania.  After mobilising at Beauty Point, we had to wait out some bad weather, with strong winds and rough seas forecast over the weekend.  Monday morning dawned with relatively calm conditions so we headed out to the site to deploy the vehicle.  After a six hour mission we recovered the vehicle as the seas began to build.  The forecast for the rest of the week is pretty dire, with 7-10m swell predicted in the area so we have had to call it a day.  We will pick up a few additional sites around Bruney Island on the way back to Hobart.

Despite the relatively short time on site, we were able to collect a large number of seafloor images with the reserve.  A few sample images showing dense brittle stars, rock lobsters, sponge gardens and soft corals appear below.

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