Scientific techniques

Researching the deep sea is a major challenge for scientists. Studying deep-sea habitats is time consuming and expensive so research expeditions can be few and far between. A scientific finding should be replicated so that more evidence can be gathered to support predefined arguments or ‘hypotheses’. Without replicating observations and experiments, hypotheses cannot be properly tested. To deal with this, scientists have developed techniques to gather as much information as possible from the short times they have access to deep-sea environments.

A broad range of techniques, from localised sampling to large-scale mapping, are needed to understand deep-sea environments. Researchers often push the forefronts of new technologies to gather the information they need. Here we’ll look at different ways of surveying the seafloor before seeing how to collect samples from the depths of the ocean and record deep-sea animals and their environment over time.

Click on the images below to navigate through the sections on scientific techniques:

Mapping Visual Surveys Sampling Landers
 A 3D multibeam sonar map of the Mingulay Reef Complex © J.M. Roberts (2004). An ROV pilot and assistant prepare the control system as the ROV is lowered into the sea © G. Newman (2005).    The grab is primed and ready to be lowered into the depths, Mingulay Reef Complex © G. Newman (2005). SAMS Benthic lander deployed, image copyright AWI / IFREMER