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ROV NEWS: Success for Isis

Posted on 01.03.2007 - 17:00 EST in ROV NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

Success for IsisScientists have returned to the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) after completing a successful expedition for Isis, the £4.5million submersive vessel which explored the seabed around the Marguerite Bay area on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Isis made 15 separate dives during its three-week expedition, diving to depths of 3,500 metres (around two miles) to map shallow waters in Marguerite Bay, the continental shelf edge and the deep continental slope.

Isis on James Clark RossThe ROV (remotely operated vehicle) captured superb images of a diverse array of sea life across an area of the sea bed. Highlights included seven blue dumbo octopuses, as well as umbellula, king crabs, sponges and anemones.

The expedition, carried out from the Royal Research Ship James Clark Ross, also provided an opportunity to look at geological features, such as 100-metre deep meltwater channels, associated with the advance and retreat of glaciers.

A better understanding of the relationship between glaciers and the ground on which they lie helps predict the speed at which glaciers might advance and retreat in the future in response to climate change.

The cruise is the first time that Isis has been used "in anger" to carry out scientific research and the first time a deep water ROV has been used in the Antarctic.

As Dr Chris Hauton of NOCS writes in the cruise diary: "Without doubt Isis is an excellent facility and a huge asset to the marine scientific community and, on the basis of what we have achieved ... there is every expectation that Isis will serve the community well."

Read the cruise diaries of the mission in the Classroom at Sea Project

Isis will next be sent to investigate the deep-sea floor off the Portuguese coast.

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