How do we get samples from the deep sea?

27 March 2011

Question

How is it going: to get living samples from the ocean bottom and to keep it up in natural conditions (t, light and P)?

Answer

We put this question to Paul Tyler, Southampton University...

Paul - The traditional methods have been to collect with trawls and things called box corers, but if you're working on something like hydrothermal vents, we go down in a submersible which dives for anything between 8 to 20 hours on the seabed. More recently over the last 10 years, there's been a massive development of what we called remote operated vehicles and these are vehicles, some the size of a large car, with a battery of cameras, connected to the mother ship via a fibre optic cable, so you get images in real time from the seabed, and you can collect samples with the manipulator arms and then everything's brought back to the surface.

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