Deep Sea Observatory

A long-term observing system 5,400 meters down

DSO Title

A long-term observing system was deployed about 550 nautical miles (640 miles) southwest of Bermuda, 5,400 meters down on the ocean floor.

DSO Photo 5

Deep Sea Observatory being deployed into the Sargasso Sea from the Schmidt Ocean Institute ship ...

Deep Sea Observatory (DSO) is a project jointly supported by Marine Science and Technology Foundation, Schmidt Ocean Institute, and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.  The objective of this observatory is to help researchers gather visual information on a variety of deep-sea benthic processes, including the sea floor animal activity.  

The Deep Sea Observatory comprises a high-resolution camera in a pressure housing, two strobe lights attached to an electrical battery, and an electronic data storage medium for the collected photographs.  All system components are mounted onto a titanium frame.  The observatory has a tether with floats attached to its top side that carries two conical sediment traps designed to capture plant and animal debris sinking through the water column.  Researchers study the collected sediment and correlate its volume and composition with still imagery collected by the camera at the seafloor to gain insight into the connectivity between the benthic and pelagic communities of the Sargasso Sea ecosystem and to understand how the dynamics of these interactions evolve over time.