As a contribution to the international Scientific Research Program "Antarctic Thresholds - Ecosystem Resilience and Adaptation" (AnT-ERA) of the "Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research" (SCAR) and to the ecological working programme "Dynamics of Antarctic Marine Shelf Ecosystems" (DynAMo) of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven (AWI) the Ocean Floor Observation System (OFOS) was deployed during expedition PS81 (ANT-XXIX/3) of RV Polarstern. Sea-bed photographs were taken along 30 drift profiles (=stations) at water depths between 35 and 780 m on both sides of the northern Antarctic Peninsula in January to March 2013.
The setup and mode of deployment of OFOS was similar to that described by Bergmann and Klages (2012, doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.09.018). OFOS is a surface-powered gear equipped with a downward-looking high-resolution, wide-angle still camera (CANON® EOS 5D Mark III; lens: Canon EF 24 f/1.4L II, f stop: 13, exposure time: 1/125 sec; in-air view angles: 74° (horizontal), 53° (vertical), 84° (diagonal); image size: 5760 x 3840 px = 21 MPix; front of pressure resistant camera housing consisting of plexiglass dome port).
OFOS was vertically lowered over the starboard side of the ship with a broadband fibre-optic cable, until it hovered approximately 1.5 m above the seabed. It was then towed with the slowly sailing ship at a speed of approximately 0.5 kn (0.25 m/s). The ship's POSIDONIA Positioning System, combined with the Inertial Navigation System (INS) and satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) of Polarstern, was used to gain highly precise underwater position data.
During the profile, OFOS was kept hanging at the preferred height of 1.5. m above the seafloor by means of the live video feed and occasional minor cable-length adjustments with the winch to compensate small-scale bathymetric variations in seabed morphology. Information on water depth and height above the seafloor were continuously recorded by means of OFOS-mounted sensors (POSIDONIA transponder, Tritech altimeter).
Three lasers, which are placed beside the still camera, emit parallel beams and project red light points, arranged as an equilateral triangle with a side length of 50 cm, in each photo, thus providing a scale that can be used to calculate the seabed area depicted in each image and/or measure the size of organisms or seabed features visible in the image. In addition, the seabed area depicted was estimated using altimeter-derived height above seafloor and optical characteristics of the OFOS still camera.
In automatic mode, a seabed photo, depicting an area of approximately 3.45 m**2 (= 2.3 m x 1.5 m; with variations depending on the actual height above ground), was taken every 30 seconds to obtain series of "TIMER" stills distributed at regular distances along the profiles that vary in length depending on duration of the cast. At a ship speed of 0.5 kn, the average distance between seabed images was approximately 5 m. Additional "HOTKEY" photos were taken from interesting objects (organisms, seabed features, such as putative iceberg scours) when they appeared in the live image feed via the fibre-optic cable.
If any image from this collection is used, please cite the appropriate reference.
Median Latitude: -62.955811 * Median Longitude: -57.775502 * South-bound Latitude: -64.008246 * West-bound Longitude: -61.232354 * North-bound Latitude: -61.927823 * East-bound Longitude: -54.097307
Date/Time Start: 2013-01-26T11:40:03 * Date/Time End: 2013-03-12T23:03:27