Scientists from the UK-based National Oceanography Centre (NOC) have successfully used robot submarines to monitor biodiversity in different environments in Marine Protected areas.

The scientists conducted research analyzing images of the seafloor taken by robot submarines surveying the Greater Haig Fras Marine Protected Area in 2012.

According to the main research author Noëlie Benoist from the University of Southampton:

“We studied thousands of seafloor photos to make a record of any marine life over one centimeter in body size, including fish, sponges and starfish. We also classified seafloor habitat type, whether it was sand, rock, or a mix of the two.”

She added:

“Efficiently acquiring ecological data is key to basic biological research, monitoring changes in biodiversity, and in the development of effective conservation programs. Our results show that robot-subs like Autosub6000 can produce accurately navigated and high-resolution image data that are essential for seafloor ecological research and practical marine conservation plans. It is important that we consider and test new marine environmental monitoring solutions that have the potential to generate ecologically relevant information on our changing oceans.”

Marine protected areas cover 27 million square kilometers (10.4 million square miles) of the world’s ocean and need to be carefully monitored as they are a crucial indicator to the health of our oceans.

You can find out more information here.

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