Exploration of the mesophotic coral ecosystems in Taiwan
With the perspectives of using underwater robots to characterize mesophotic coral ecosystems in Taiwan, we are just back from our first field test of IONTU’s BlueROV2 (Blue Robotics Inc.) at Green Island (Ludao, Taiwan). Despite tough conditions at sea, we smoothly deployed our ROV down to -60 meters while analyzing its abilities to capture high-definition videos of the benthos with the help of an additional GoPro facing the substrate. In addition, the Water Linked Underwater GPS provides the global position of the vehicle using acoustic positioning and traditional GPS. It represents a huge asset for tracking distance traveled and for mapping the communities encountered. We are still analyzing data collected, and we will compare them soon with work from divers. Yet, the first outcomes seem very promising. After further adjustments (laser, battery, etc.), we hope to use routinely this equipment for our surveys and expand our current knowledge on mesophotic depths (Denis et al. In Press). This work initiates our long-range objectives at scrutinizing unexplored depths around Taiwan.
Left: BlueROV2 deployment test at -5m in Zhongliao (Ludao, Taiwan). Photo credit: YV Lin. Right: screenshot from the mounted GoPro illustrating benthic composition at the same study site.
More information on Taiwanese mesophotic habitat available soon in:
Denis V*, Soto D, De Palmas S, Lin YTV, Benayahu Y, Huang YM, Liu SL, Chen JW, Chen Q, Sturaro N, Ho MJ, Su Y, Dai CF, Chen CA (In Press) Taiwan. In: Loya Y, Puglise KA, Bridge T (eds) Mesophotic coral ecosystems of the world. Springer International Publishing AG. (https://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319927343)