Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Get the picture?

You all know how excited I was for the Interagency Crab Meeting (see my reaction here). This year's special topic session was 

Crab Surveys in Alaska -
Current and Future Practice

Hanumant Singh from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was the guest speaker talking about how he applies his imaging prowess to biology and oceanography. His talk was "From Sensors to Platforms, from Data to Information - How technology can help in Benthic Surveys for Fisheries Related Activities" and he showed us wowed us with his awesome images and 3-D mapping of everything from the RMS Titanic (we're not over it yet) to king crabs heading towards Antarctica (remember reading about them here and here?) to sneaky octopus! Seriously, the octopus blew my mind. (Wait for the slow-motion reverse video, starting around 0:27.)

All amazing images aside, his take-home message was that there are several ways to survey marine populations and, while trawl/pot surveys are useful and necessary, for those areas that are too rocky or under sea ice coverage, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) can be a useful and surprisingly accurate tool!

harpooning: not just for mammals anymore!
(retrieving an AUV on that most stable of surfaces: the ice)

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