Marine Camp Sneak Peek: Tools of the Trade

How do we explore the ocean? What tools and methods help scientists reach the depths and far reaches of the sea? This summer, our Underwater Investigators (entering grades 6-8) will explore these questions, and use some of the tools used in marine science.

We are excited for the opportunity to work with an OpenROV for this summer’s projects. “ROV” stands for Remotely Operated Vehicle. In marine science, ROVs are used to explore parts of the ocean that are difficult to reach by divers or even manned submersibles. Instead, we send robots—ROV submarines, to explore. Many ROVs are very expensive, large, and delicate, and there are very few that are used only by professional researchers and institutes. The OpenROV is changing all of that with their compact, and relatively inexpensive tools that anyone can pilot.

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The Underwater Investigator will have 2 days on our site, a day canoeing through sloughs, and a 2 days aboard our ship (including spending the night!). While on site, the campers will design and complete projects that use the ROV. They may ask questions that use the video data, or they may design attachments to use the ROV to collect samples of mud, plankton, or something else. The questions that can be examined with the ROV are limitless. They could include: Is the type of plankton that we sample on the surface of the water different from the plankton found deeper down? What is the make-up of the fouling community on our docks? How do different types of fish respond to the ROV?

We will only have this opportunity if we earn the grant for the ROV! We have reached our fundraising goal, but still need the followers! Please create an account and follow our expedition. You will receive awesome footage from our underwater robots, and updates on our projects.

**UPDATE (5/20/15) Thank you for your support! We have acheived our goal and are now proud owners of our own ROV! Campers will be the first to pilot MSI’s newest robot addition.**

In addition to using the ROV, campers will also explore other types of technology that is used to study marine science in the field. Light traps to collect animals drawn to light (especially at night), different types of nets, sensors and chemical tests to examine the water, even special equipment to sample water and mud, are all tools of the trade that campers will put to use. Understanding tools, and seeing their utility (and limitations) inspires questions and ingenuity. I am looking forward to discovering ways to put these tools to use!


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