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Underwater Robot Offers Insight into Mid-Ocean 'Twilight Zone'

Training the Mesobot (foreground).

An innovative underwater robot is providing researchers with deeper insight into the vast mid-ocean region known as the twilight zone.

Credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), and Stanford University used the underwater robot Mesobot to track and capture high-resolution images of slow-moving organisms inhabiting the mid-ocean "twilight zone" region.

Mesobot uses an array of oceanographic and acoustic survey sensors, and can be operated remotely through a fiberoptic cable linked to a ship, follow pre-programmed missions, or autonomously track targets at depths of up to 1,000 meters (3,300 feet).

MBARI's Kakani Katija said, “Mesobot has the potential to change how we observe animals moving through space and time in a way that we've never been able to do before."

From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
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