Marine Oceanographic Observatory - McMurdo Sound, Antarctica
View Into The Blue designed and built the world’s first live-streaming, underwater observatory in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean. The Marine Oceanographic Observatory (MOO) offers a candid glimpse into the frigid and remote environment below the Antarctic sea ice in the farthest southern accessible marine environment in the world. VITB is celebrated the successful deployment of the system on November 11th, 2017. The University of Oregon’s Dr. Paul Cziko, lead researcher for the project and onsite technician, collaborated with VITB in the design and build of the MOO system that was installed in McMurdo Sound.
VITB’s President and Director of Research and Technologies, Trevor Mendelow, said of the challenges of building the MOO, “From the integration of new technology into our system to the logistics of travel and transport, this project required exceptional attention to detail and understanding of the consequences associated with working in such extreme conditions. The planning process was meticulous and production had to be perfect, but this project was well worth the excess time and effort. The information gleaned form the observatory will be the first of its kind and we are proud to be at the forefront of research in this field.”
The MOO serves to characterize the benthic habitat and the underside of sea ice, to provide real-time surveillance of oceanographic conditions, and to observe underwater ice growth dynamics as they relate to freezing risk in Antarctic fishes. The site will also allow for the year-round observation of fish and invertebrate behaviors. Finally, this project will form a baseline dataset of temperature, which may be important to understand the effects of climate change.
In addition to a VITB’s camera system, other sensors will record essential data. A research-quality OceanSonics icListen hydrophone is included that will record the first, year-round hydro acoustic record for McMurdo Sound. A SeaBird-37 CTD will provide valuable salinity, pressure, and temperature data, which has never been recorded on a yearly basis. VITB also supplied on-demand LED lighting that will improve imaging capabilities of the system. This will enhance the likelihood of viewing weddell seals, orca and minke whales, and various species of penguin.
VITB looks forward to offering remote support to the U.S. Antarctic Program for the MOO and will continue to build novel and robust monitoring systems fit for deployment in challenging environments.