Marine Electronics & Mechanical Engineering Research
Oceanlab have a continuing research programme aimed at improving the engineering systems we produce for biological research. With this aim we investigate the use of new materials and continually strive to provide innovative solutions to the design problems generated from work in the deep oceans. With the facilities available at Oceanlab we are able to fully test and refine our designs before deployment at sea. Currently, our research is centred on a number of areas:
- Development of full ocean depth sub-sea windowed housings;
- Variable buoyancy systems;
- Low Power PC based data logging systems for high-end video applications
PC based computers have the advantage of universally available hardware and software, however the power budget is excessive for long term battery powered applications. Recent advances in low power PC compatible microprocessors and the Microsoft On-now protocol are development areas being investigated.
Marine Biological Research
The deep-sea is a challenging environment for the physiologist, mainly because many animals cannot be collected for study in the laboratory as they are killed by changes in pressure and temperature during capture. As a result we know relatively little about abyssal animals, but what we do know tends to indicate that deep-water environments favour animals with low metabolic rates and activity levels, and while several reasons for this have been suggested none has been proven. One way around the problem of making physiological measurements of deep-sea animals is to undertake experiments in situ, and this is the method used by the team at Oceanlab, part of the University of Aberdeen.
Research within the Marine theme include fundamental and applied studies in a wide range of contrasting marine ecosystems. Work has been carried out in habitats from the inter-tidal down to the abyssal deep sea, and from Arctic to Antarctic waters.
A broad suite of approaches including, remote sensing, instrumentation and modelling are used to study populations in-situ. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding how individuals and populations respond to extreme and changing environments.