Nova Scotia

Subsea camera to live stream a scientist's-eye-view of the ocean floor

Researchers exploring the ocean floor in the Maritimes will be live-streaming video from an underwater robot this week. The project will allow the public to view exactly what the scientists see, in real time.

The project will allow the public to view exactly what a team of marine scientists see, in real time.

A team of researchers will deploy a three-tonne, remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) to the bottom of the Gulf of Maine later this month. (Dr. Anna Metaxas and Dr. Martha Nizinski/Oceana)

This summer, you'll have the chance to explore the ocean floor from the comfort of your living room.

A team of researchers will deploy a three-tonne, remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) to the bottom of the ocean. The team plans to study the Gulf of Maine starting this month. They'll move to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in August.

The ROV will be equipped with sampling tools, robotic arms and a high-definition camera that will stream live video to the internet.

"It's about discovery," said Dr. Robert Rangeley with Oceana Canada, a marine conservation group.

"You're seeing these things at the same time that the scientists are seeing them.

"Often times when they go down, they discover new species."

Cold-water coral to be studied

Rangeley said this week the ROV will search for cold-water coral in the Gulf of Maine.

Dr. Robert Rangeley, with Oceana Canada (Brett Ruskin/CBC News )

Most coral is found in shallow water and warmer climates. 

"These corals are down to a kilometre deep," said Rangeley.

The research team will send the ROV down into canyons on the ocean floor where the corals have previously been found. The team will focus on the body of water between Maine, Nova Scotia and Georges Bank.

Interactive live stream

Everything the underwater robot sees will be streamed live online.

There will also be pre-packaged recaps outlining the previous day's activities.

The researchers on board will also be responding to input from those back on land.

The remotely-operated vehicle that will be used to explore the ocean floor and live stream images back to the surface. (Ropos Labs)

"It'll be live," Rangeley said. "You can ask the scientists questions."

"Someone will be answering you and they'll be explaining to you what they're seeing."

Oceans Week activity

This first phase of the research project coordinates with Oceans Week in Halifax.

The research vessel will head out to sea on Thursday, June 8 — World Oceans Day.

The purpose of the day is to instill an interest in ocean research, since there is lots left to discover, Rangeley said.

"It's only a small fraction or our oceans' habitats that we have studied," he said.

"We're still learning all the time."


Brett Ruskin


Brett Ruskin is a reporter and videojournalist covering everything from local breaking news to national issues. He's based in Halifax.