Cruise No POS526
Date 23/07/2018 - 11/08/2018
Route Bergen (NOR) - Kiel (GER)
Study Area Dogger Bank / Tisler Reef
Involved Projects MOSES / ROBUST / ENVRI+
Chief Scientist Dr. Timm Schoening

SeASOM2018 – Applying semi-autonomous subsea optical monitoring for methane seepage and cold water coral studies in the North Sea

During this cruise semi-automated optical imaging will be conducted in diverse seafloor terrains for gas flux quantification and coral reef monitoring. First, novel autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and the manned submersible JAGO will be used to link high-resolution / low spatial coverage gas bubble measurements with low-resolution / high spatial coverage hydroacoustic measurements. Combined with gas concentration measurements on board the vessel, this will provide calibration data sets allowing to quantify gas fluxes from the release at the seafloor through the water column into the atmosphere (investigating a functional chain of the MOSES project). Second, contiguous optical mapping of deep water coral reefs will be done by deploying JAGO and the AUVs in high-relief terrain with currents. This provides baseline data for future monitoring campaigns and to deploy a novel multi-spectral camera. State-of-the-art data management workflows will be implemented for gathered data aiming to initiate a seamless data transfer from sensors to public data repositories. Autonomous station keeping in challenging terrain, based on optical observations, will feed into the ROBUST project.

Research conducted during this cruise will provide data for several national and international technology, monitoring strategy and data science driven projects next to continuing environmental monitoring of gas release in the North Sea and cold water corals in Norwegian waters. Two Helmholtz Initiatives in parts depend on this cruise for testing acquired infrastructure in MOSES such as AUVs, FTIR and Eddy-Covariance technology. In addition, results from this cruise will provide valuable data for ENVRI+, a project focusing on observation and monitoring strategies as well as the robotic project ROBUST which aims at developing new methodologies for truly autonomous AUV-based bathymetric and optical seafloor mapping.

MOSES modules applied and tested during this cruise:

AUV WaveGlider
  • Test and deployment of novel shallow water AUVs as platforms for optical imaging
  • Development of intelligent autonomous navigation procedures for in-situ target detection, station keeping and observation
  • Complimentary assessment of heterogeneous survey terrains with autonomous and manned underwater vehicles (low relief seafloor at seep sites vs. high relief coral reef sites / static vs. dynamic current environments)
  • Testing next-generation marine research survey technology in the form of multiple communicating platforms (submersible, AUVs, Waveglider) to provide continuous and accurate underwater navigation as well as rapid feedback of sensor data