As part of the School of Biological Sciences, the OceanLab research group have been designing, manufacturing and deploying landers for Oceanographic research for over 15 years, and have completed over 500 successful Lander deployments and recoveries. During this period we have used Landers for simple ocean floor photography, to sophisticated fish tracking systems using miniature acoustic transponders and associated sonar systems. The group has worked in the Pacific Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and in the Atlantic Ocean - from the Faeroe-Shetland channel, Porcupine seabight/abyssal plain and Cape Verde upwelling to the South Atlantic off the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. We have operated from a variety of ships including US, UK, German and Greek research vessels to commercial fishing vessels under charter.
Funding for this work originated from collaboration with the University of California Scripps Institute and was then further developed by funding from the Natural and Environmental Research Council (NERC), the EU, the Joint Infrastructure Fund, and Industry. We have recently concluded research contracts with the Falkland Islands government and South Georgia government. Experience of operation of fleets of up to 12 landers from one or more ships was gained during the European Union MAST 3 project - ALIPOR (Autonomous lander Instrument Platforms for Oceanographic Research) led by Prof. Priede and involving partners from 5 European countries.
Lander sub systems
Oceanlab's landers must work autonomously for periods of up to 6 months. This requires robustness of design and manufacture. Mechanical and electronics systems must survive transport to dock (sometimes world-wide), and deployment from a ship to the deep ocean. Once on the sea floor the systems must work without human input. Further, software systems must be robust. A system crash similar to that you may have experienced with a desktop PC cannot be tolerated. Oceanlab has 15 years experience working within these design and manufacture tolerances.