The UVP uses high-resolution cameras and a powerful lighting system to record video of zooplankton and large phytoplankton as the profiler passes through the water column. In addition to plankton, this instrument can study suspended particles and environmental conditions associated with the observed organisms. UVPs are lowered from a research vessel that has instrumentation on board to view the images being generated. The profiler's images are not quantitative like those from an Optical Plankton Counter, but this technology does provide a useful catalog of organisms found at different depths at a given research site. The profiler can generate spectacular images similar to those from a Remotely Operated Vehicle or manned submersible, but at much less effort and expense.
An Underwater Video Profiler being readied for launch during a MAR-ECO cruise. (Marc Picheral, Laboratoire d'Oceanologie de Villefranche)
An Underwater Video Profiler being lowered into the water off the back of the R/V G. O. SARS. (Marc Picheral, Laboratoire d'Oceanologie de Villefranche)
A still image of a jellyfish taken from a video made by the MAR-ECO Underwater Video Profiler. (Mid-Atlantic Ridge Ecosystems - MAR-ECO. Laboratoire d'Oceanologie de Villefranche)