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Gutt, Julian; Arntz, Wolf E; Dimmler, Werner; Schulz, Harald; Potthoff, Michael; Teixidó, Núria; Rose, Armin; Thatje, Sven (2011): Sea-floor videos and photographs (benthos) along 6 shelf profiles from the eastern Weddell Sea, Antarctica taken with remote operated vehicel CHEROKEE during Polarstern cruise ANT-XXI/2. © AWI/MARUM, University of Bremen, PANGAEA,

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The ROV operations had three objectives: (1) to check, whether the "Cherokee" system is suited for advanced benthological work in the high latitude Antarctic shelf areas; (2) to support the disturbance experiment, providing immediate visual Information; (3) to continue ecological work that started in 1989 at the hilltop situated at the northern margin of the Norsel Bank off the 4-Seasons Inlet (Weddell Sea).
The "Cherokee" is was equipped with 3 video cameras, 2 of which support the operation. A high resolution Tritech Typhoon camera is used for scientific observations to be recorded. In addition, the ROV has a manipulator, a still camera, lights and strobe, compass, 2 lasers, a Posidonia transponder and an obstacle avoidance Sonar. The size of the vehicle is 160 X 90 X 90cm.
In the present configuration without TMS (tether management system) the deployment has to start with paying out the full cable length, lay it in loops on deck and connect the glass fibres at the tether's spool winch. After a final technical check the vehicle is deployed into the water, actively driven perpendicular to the ship's axis and floatings are fixed to the tether. At a cable length of approx. 50 m, the tether is tightened to the depressor by several cable ties and both components are lowered towards the sea floor, the vehicle by the thruster's propulsion and the depressor by the ship's winch. At 5 m intervals the tether has to be tied to the single conductor cable. In good weather conditions the instruments supporting the navigation of the ROV, especially the Posidonia system, allow an operation mode to follow the ship's course if the ship's speed is slow. Together with the lasers which act as a scale in the images they also allow a reproducible scientific analysis since the transect can be plotted in a GIS system. Consequently, the area observed can be easily calculated. An operation as a predominantly drifting system, especially in areas with bottom near currents, is also possible, however, the connection of the tether at the rear of the vehicle is unsuitable for such conditions. The recovery of the system corresponds to that of the deployment. Most important is to reach the surface of the sea at a safe distance perpendicular to the ship's axis in order not to interfere with the ship's propellers. During this phase the Posidonia transponder system is of high relevance although it has to be switched off at a water depth of approx. 40 m. The minimum personal needed is 4 persons to handle the tether on deck, one person to operate the ship's winch, one pilot and one additional technician for the ROV's operation itself, one scientist, and one person on the ship's bridge in addition to one on deck for whale watching when the Posidonia system is in use. The time for the deployment of the ROV until it reaches the sea floor depends on the water depth and consequently on the length of the cable to be paid out beforehand and to be tightened to the single conductor cable. Deployment and recovery at intermediate water depths can last up to 2 hours each. A reasonable time for benthological observations close to the sea floor is 1 to 3 hours but can be extended if scientifically justified.
Preliminary results: after a first test station, the ROV was deployed 3 times for observations related to the disturbance experiment. A first attempt to Cross the hilltop at the northern margin of the Norsel Bank close to the 4- Seasons Inlet was successful only for the first hundreds of metres transect length. The benthic community was dominated in biomass by the demosponge Cinachyra barbata. Due to the strong current of approx. 1 nm/h, the design of the system, and an expected more difficult current regime between grounded icebergs and the top of the hilltop the operation was stopped before the hilltop was reached. In a second attempt the hilltop was successfully crossed because the current and wind situation was much more suitable. In contrast to earlier expeditions with the "sprint" ROV it was the first time that both slopes, the smoother in the northeast and the steeper in the southwest were continuously observed during one cast. A coarse classification of the hilltop fauna shows patches dominated by single taxa: cnidarians, hydrozoans, holothurians, sea urchins and stalked sponges. Approximately 20 % of the north-eastern slope was devastated by grounding icebergs. Here the sediments consisted of large boulders, gravel or blocks of finer sediment looking like an irregularly ploughed field. On the Norsel Bank the Cinachyra concentrations were locally associated with high abundances of sea anemones. Total observation time amounted to 11.5 hours corresponding to almost 6-9 km transect length.
Related to:
Arntz, Wolf E; Brey, Thomas (2005): The Expedition ANTARKTIS XXI/2 (BENDEX) of RV Polarstern in 2003/2004. Berichte zur Polar- und Meeresforschung = Reports on Polar and Marine Research, 503, 149 pp,
Median Latitude: -70.989339 * Median Longitude: -10.856758 * South-bound Latitude: -71.132623 * West-bound Longitude: -11.495817 * North-bound Latitude: -70.844553 * East-bound Longitude: -10.461178
Date/Time Start: 2003-12-09T12:21:00 * Date/Time End: 2004-01-05T12:44:14
Minimum Elevation: -306.0 m * Maximum Elevation: -135.0 m
PS65/091-1 * Latitude Start: -70.930000 * Longitude Start: -10.504000 * Latitude End: -70.926830 * Longitude End: -10.506330 * Date/Time Start: 2003-12-09T11:28:00 * Date/Time End: 2003-12-09T14:09:00 * Elevation Start: -233.0 m * Elevation End: -233.0 m * Location: Weddell Sea * Campaign: ANT-XXI/2 (PS65 BENDEX) * Basis: Polarstern * Device: Remote operated vehicle CHEROKEE (ROVC)
PS65/102-1 * Latitude Start: -70.939830 * Longitude Start: -10.525330 * Latitude End: -70.946160 * Longitude End: -10.523330 * Date/Time Start: 2003-12-10T07:10:00 * Date/Time End: 2003-12-10T10:33:00 * Elevation Start: -273.0 m * Elevation End: -306.0 m * Location: Weddell Sea * Campaign: ANT-XXI/2 (PS65 BENDEX) * Basis: Polarstern * Device: Remote operated vehicle CHEROKEE (ROVC)
PS65/184-1 * Latitude Start: -70.942000 * Longitude Start: -10.535330 * Latitude End: -70.934160 * Longitude End: -10.488500 * Date/Time Start: 2003-12-17T08:55:00 * Date/Time End: 2003-12-17T13:44:00 * Elevation Start: -303.0 m * Elevation End: -228.0 m * Location: Weddell Sea * Campaign: ANT-XXI/2 (PS65 BENDEX) * Basis: Polarstern * Device: Remote operated vehicle CHEROKEE (ROVC)
#NameShort NameUnitPrincipal InvestigatorMethodComment
1Event labelEvent
2Sample code/labelSample labelGutt, Julian
4Date/time endDate/time endGutt, Julian
5CommentCommentGutt, Julian
6Time in minutesTimeminGutt, Julian
9Latitude 2Lat 2Gutt, Julian
10Longitude 2Long 2Gutt, Julian
11Depth, bathymetricBathy depthmGutt, Julianstart
12Depth, bathymetricBathy depthmGutt, Julianstop
13File sizeFile sizekByteGutt, Julianof video
14Uniform resource locator/link to movieURL movieGutt, JulianMPEG-2; video only; Warning! Files are very big. Do not open with your browser, use right click to save file to disk.
15Uniform resource locator/link to imageURL imageGutt, Julianphotographs in jpg-format along track
16Uniform resource locator/link to metadata fileURL metaGutt, Julianmap and track, zipped
120 data points

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