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‘Seadog’ takes marine research to new depths


Brigid Veale
22 March 2007
A new remote-controlled underwater vehicle which can operate down to 150 metres will open up a new marine environment to Southern Cross University scientists and students.

The remotely-operated underwater vehicle (ROV), nicknamed ‘Seadog’, has been purchased by the School of Environmental Science and Management and will have its maiden voyage on Friday, March 23.

Dr Daniel Bucher, Associate Dean Research and Research Training, said ‘Seadog’ would enable marine researchers to investigate the marine habitats of the continental shelf beyond the depth range accessible to divers.

“It’s about the size of a miniature fox terrier and operates from our research vessel ‘Seahorse’ on a long umbilical cord which is 175 metres long,” Dr Bucher said.

“Seadog will operate down to 150 metres with a colour and low-light black and white camera on board. It can also be fitted with a gripper arm and a wide range of sensors, including imaging sonar for use in turbid water.”

Dr Bucher said the vessel could also be used in situations where divers would interfere with normal animal behaviour patterns or where it was dangerous for divers.

“This opens up an exciting range of new opportunities for research, marine education and commercial applications. It is intended that ‘Seadog’ will be used to investigate deep reef and sediment communities, shark and whale research, fish behaviour and ocean chemistry,” he said.

“It can also be used in freshwater and to examine boat hulls and the integrity of underwater structures.”

The underwater vessel is made in the USA by Videoray and distributed by Hobart company Imbros Pty Ltd.

Photo opportunity: Media are invited to attend the launch of the vessel on Friday, March 23, at the Fawcett Street wharf, Ballina, at 11.30am.