Underwater robots are key to understanding and defending deep-water species

Underwater robots are key to understanding and defending deep-water species

Underwater robots have nice flexibility and velocity of operation. Credit score: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

A brand new research exhibits that the mixed use of fastened acoustic reception stations and underwater robots for the research of deep-sea species permits for a greater understanding of their ecology. These technological advances may enhance the restoration of deep-sea demersal populations.

Exploration of marine ecosystems requires the event of applied sciences that enable in-depth analysis for a vast time. Acoustic reception stations fastened to the seabed are an excellent choice, as they provide nice momentary decision, however they’ve a excessive deployment value and their use is proscribed to the anchorage space. Subsequently, the opportunity of combining their use with that of remotely operated and autonomous underwater automobiles, generally referred to as ROVs and AUVs, is crucial.

That is the primary conclusion of a research carried out by researchers from the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC), the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) and the Universitat de Girona (UdG) and printed within the journal Science Robotics. The authors declare that underwater robots act as the proper complement to fastened stations since they’ve nice flexibility, can transfer quick and are capable of cowl a lot bigger research areas.

This enchancment in operational capability permits organic and ecological data on the exercise patterns of benthic marine organisms to be collected. This could in flip enable the restoration actions of their populations, lots of that are struggling because of human exploitation, to be improved.

“By way of the set up of acoustic sensors on 33 Norway lobsters and the usage of a community of robotic devices, now we have been capable of see, for the primary time, the species’ patterns of motion at a depth of 400 meters,” rejoice Joan Navarro and Joan Baptista, researchers on the ICM-CSIC and leaders of the RESNEP venture, the framework for a part of the experimental work finished to hold out the research.

The experimental work contains three oceanographic campaigns that befell from 2019 to 2020 in a pilot space of a fishing reserve in one of many primary prawn fishing grounds in Spain: the marine zone between Roses and Palamós, on the Costa Brava. As well as, the workforce carried out technological validation exams beforehand on the Obsea underwater observatory, which is operated by the UPC and positioned 4 kilometers from the port of Vilanova i la Geltrú and 20 meters deep.

“This has allowed us to hold out an exhaustive evaluation of the strategies for positioning acoustic labels and synchronizing the completely different receivers, that are important for an accurate geolocation of marked people,” explains Ivan Masmitja, first creator of the research and a postdoctoral researcher on the UPC.

Underwater robots are key to understanding and protecting deep-water species
Credit score: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

The research additionally addresses the issues inherent to species-monitoring at nice depths and proposes options similar to the usage of autonomous automobiles in underwater acoustic purposes and algorithms based mostly on the calculation of likelihood by detection space.

“This experimental work is a vital qualitative leap for the research of one of these species in its personal habitat in that it offers new strategies and practices for the correct monitoring of deep-sea marine species,” add Jacopo Aguzzi, a researcher, and María Vigo, a Ph.D. pupil, each on the ICM-CSIC, for whom “one of these research is crucial to determine conservation insurance policies and accurately handle pure marine sources.”

“Using AUVs considerably reduces prices in acquiring information from the seabed, not solely by decreasing the mandatory infrastructure but in addition as a result of multiple can be utilized in the identical marketing campaign,” highlights UdG researcher Marc Carreras, who’s accountable for the Girona 500 AUV used within the venture. The researcher claims that “this expertise might be important sooner or later and, for that reason, we’re creating new capabilities that enable automobiles to be extra autonomous and adaptable to purposes.”

A cross-disciplinary collaboration

Aside from the ICM-CSIC, the UPC and the UdG, researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Analysis Institute (MBARI) in California (U.S.), the Institut Supérieur de l’Électronique et du Numérique (ISEN Yncréa Ouest) in Brest (France) and Oslo Metropolitan College (OsloMet) in Oslo (Norway) have additionally participated within the research by offering complementary and important technological and ecological information to satisfy the challenges which are anticipated within the research of seas and oceans.

Collaboration between establishments is the important thing to finishing up all these research through which the work of each scientists and technologists is required. An instance of that is the collaboration between the ICM and the UPC’s SARTI group, which, by means of Tecnoterra, a unit related to the CSIC, has managed to supply technological options to numerous scientific challenges that wanted, along with information obtained throughout oceanographic campaigns, different information gathered in situ.

Joaquín del Río, UPC researcher and head of the Obsea observatory used within the venture validation course of, underlines the significance of validating the sensors and applied sciences used later in deeper waters in an actual atmosphere: “the prior validation of the applied sciences and gadgets used on this analysis is essential to extend the marketing campaign’s probability of success.”


Effectivity enhance for robotic submarines


Extra data:
I. Masmitja et al. Cell robotic platforms for the acoustic monitoring of deep-sea demersal fishery sources, Science Robotics (2020). DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.abc3701

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Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

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