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Front Page > Technology > Collecting Organisms > Submersible Collection:

Submersible Collection

In order to collect and study organisms from the deep seafloor scientists must employ specialized collection tools. These tools are mounted on several types of submersible vehicles. Some tools, called suction samplers, act like big vacuums that suck up small burrowing organisms from benthic sediments or pelagic animals as they swim through the water column. Other tools are specialized for grabbing intact clumps of animals that are attached to the benthos. Finally, many submersibles, whether ROVs or Manned Submersibles, have mechanical arms that can reach out and grab a single sample of a species or a piece of the seafloor. This technology ensures that collected specimens remain in good shape, often even alive and healthy, for better study. Many of the unique creatures collected from the deepest regions of the oceans were gathered using such tools.

A mechanical collecting arm from the French submersible, NAUTILE, taking a sample from a hydrothermal vent. (Daniel Desbruyères, PHARE-IFREMER, ChEss) The submersible ALVIN uses a specialized collection pot to gather mussels and other attached organisms from the sea floor in the Gulf of Mexico. (I. Macdonald & C. Van Dover, Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institute) The Remotely Operated Vehicle, TIBURON, collects unique hydrothermal vent clams using a suction sampler. Similar suction sample tools are used to collect organisms by hand in shallow waters. (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, MBARI)

Click on the links below to see what Census projects use this technology:

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