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In the Gulf of Mexico, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation funds expeditions and initiatives that greatly enhance research, monitoring and restoration activities in and around Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

Mohawk ROV cruising above a coral reef with the silhousette of a boat visible above.
The Mohawk ROV on its inaugural run at
East Flower Garden Bank.
Photo: FGBNMS/Schmahl

In 2013, these efforts resulted in the purchase of a Mohawk ROV which will greatly enhance research and monitoring efforts throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

Three-man crew standing around ROV on the deck of a boat
UNCW-UVP ROV crew: Glenn Taylor (left), Lance Horne (center), Jason White (right). Photo: FGBNMS/Hickerson

This vehicle will be maintained and operated through an innovative partnership between NMSF and the University of North Carolina–Wilmington’s Undersea Vehicle Program (UNCW-UVP).

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MANUFACTURER: Forum Engineering Technologies, Aberdeen, Scotland

DEPTH RATING: 1000 meters (3281 ft) - can be upgraded to 2000 meters (6562 ft)

A front view of the Mohawk ROV with parts labeled
Click on this image to see a larger image.

CAMERAS: Insite Pacific mini zeus HD video camera, 10x zoom; Kongsberg Maritime OE14-408 10mp digital still camera, 5x zoom; OE11-442 strobe with E-TTL metering

LIGHTS: 2 Bowtech 3200 LED dimmable lights, 3200 lumens, beam angle 80 degrees

LASERS: 2 Sidus SS501 50Mw green (532nm) spot lasers (10cm apart) - used for size reference in images

Side view of ROV showing thruster
One of four horizontal thrusters. Photo: FGBNMS/Drinnen

THRUSTERS: 4 horizontal CTE-01, 1 vertical CTE-01 with tandem props

Looking through an opening in the top of an ROV to see the vertical thruster
Vertical thruster as seen from the top. The metal frame above the thruster is the attachment point for a hoisting cable.
Photo: FGBNMS/Drinnen

MANIPULATOR: CSIP micro 5-function electric (not pictured)

COLLECTION CAPABILITIES: A custom collection carousel and open/closing storage box is in development by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution and will be available for use mid-2014.

Mohawk ROV Fact Sheet (307kb pdf)

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View of ROV control station with all of the pieces labeled
Click on this image to see a larger image.

SONAR: Imagenex 881 sonar

View of top right front corner of ROV showing sonar beacon
This position beacon lets the boat know where the
ROV is located.
Photo: FGBNMS/Drinnen

ALTIMETER: Tritech PA500/6-S

TETHER: 365m fiber optic

ROV umbilical cable coiled in a large box on the boat deck
The umbilical must be managed carefully to avoid crimping any of the communication lines inside. Syntactic foam floats provide buoyancy in the first part of the line so that it floats up and away from the ROV underwater. Photo: FGBNMS/Drinnen

OVERLAY: depth, heading, altitude, number of 360° turns, date/time

NAVIGATION: ORE trackpoint II, ORE transponder, KVH compass, Northstar 951x DGPS, Hypack software provides tracking and geo-referenced video and digital stills

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The science team sets up an annotation station in the galley of R/V MANTA during all ROV trips. This is where they watch a live feed from the ROV and record information about the organisms and habitat they see, as they see them.

Marissa sitting at a table typing in data about what she sees on the ROV screen
Marissa staffing the annotation station. The three monitors show (left to right) ROV position, a spreadsheet for notes, and the still camera feed. The large screen TV on the wall shows live video feed from the ROV. Photo: FGBNMS/Schmahl

Annotation creates a preliminary record of each exploration to use as a reference for more detailed research later.

The first HD images of deep habitats within the sanctuary were collected in this manner during the ROV's inaugural trip, October 28-30, 2013.

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weather report observations cool stuff get wet

Orange, branching gorgonian (soft coral) anchored in a bed of sponges and other sea life.
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