UNCW-Undersea Vehicles Program

UNCW-Undersea Vehicles Program The Undersea Vehicles Program (UVP) is a part of the oceanographic operations support division at UNCW's Center for Marine Science. The Undersea Vehicles Program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington is dedicated to providing efficient undersea intervention with experienced remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) support.
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With over 28 years of conducting undersea research, the UVP team possesses the skills and knowledge required to perform extensive end-to-end mission coordination and logistics, professional vehicle operations, and quality data collection. UVP is uniquely qualified to provide access to and expertise associated with specialized ocean exploration and research vehicles, systems, and sensors to conduct ocean exploration, research, training, and technology development. Visit our web site at http://www.uncw.edu/uvp/ for day rates, scheduling, vehicle specification, system requirements, and operating procedures, or contact Lance Horn at [email protected] for additional information on how we can support your undersea research.

Mission: The Undersea Vehicles Program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington is dedicated to providing efficient undersea intervention with experienced remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) support. With over 24 years of conducting undersea research, the UVP team possesses the skills and knowledge required to perform extensive end-to-end mission coordination and logistics, professional vehicle operations, and quality data collection. UVP is uniquely qualified to provide access to and expertise associated with specialized ocean exploration and research vehicles, systems, and sensors to conduct ocean exploration, research, training, and technology development.

01/08/2021

Happy Friday, here is a short video clip from 2014 in St. Croix USVI. The Undersea Vehicles Program was working with NOAA on the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster doing multibeam ground-truthing. Pretty cool seeing the triggerfish spawning aggregation and spawning barrel sponge on the same trip!

It's that time of year again, time to completely take apart the Mohawk ROV and clean every nut and bolt, test every cabl...
12/17/2020

It's that time of year again, time to completely take apart the Mohawk ROV and clean every nut and bolt, test every cable, and test all the different pieces of equipment on the ROV. This ensures our 2021 field season will go as smoothly as possible. You can see what the Mohawk ROV looks like in pieces in the first three photos compared to the last photo. Happy holidays from UNCW's Undersea Vehicles Program!

12/09/2020
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

This video looks familiar, this was taken in the Gulf of Mexico with the Mohawk ROV a few years ago. Pretty regularly UVP see's aggregations of sea urchins of different types, there is a link to an article below.

Make sure you're connected! What is habitat connectivity and why do we care? Get the #OceanFacts: https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/facts/habitat-connectivity.html.
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[Video: Spawning aggregation of sea urchins imaged on Pulley Ridge. Learning how, why, and where sea urchin larvae settle is critical to understanding marine ecosystems.]

The Undersea Vehicles Program took part in three ROV missions this year for a total of 58 hours of bottom time with the ...
12/08/2020

The Undersea Vehicles Program took part in three ROV missions this year for a total of 58 hours of bottom time with the Mohawk ROV. Two of the missions were on vessels the team has never worked on, Tiki XIV and the R/V Hugh Sharp. Also, on both of these new vessels UVP worked in new places, off of Virginia and New York. All in all it was a very successful year and the team is looking forward to 2021. We recently uploaded all the ROV dives from this year onto our ROV Dive Map on our website, check it out sometime. https://uncw.edu/uvp/rovmap.html

On UVP's last day of operations in the Sandy Hook, NJ area the team conducted three transects and one dive looking for a...
11/20/2020

On UVP's last day of operations in the Sandy Hook, NJ area the team conducted three transects and one dive looking for a wreck. A lot of the work UVP conducts with their ROV may not be the most glamorous however it's very important to scientist. In the first four downward facing photos you can see the different bottom types in the dredge disposal area. The possible wreck ended up being a gigantic tire.

Strong winds in the morning resulted in a short day of ROV diving for operations day six. Amongst the transects we captu...
11/19/2020

Strong winds in the morning resulted in a short day of ROV diving for operations day six. Amongst the transects we captured a photo of this sea robin or Triglidae. These fish open their pectoral fins to resemble wings to earn the name. More interesting are the "legs" seen in the photo which were once part of the pectoral fins. These six legs are spiny and the fish will use them to walk across the seafloor!

On Sunday UNCW's Undersea Vehicles Program conducted it's fifth day of operations, which ended up getting cut short due ...
11/18/2020

On Sunday UNCW's Undersea Vehicles Program conducted it's fifth day of operations, which ended up getting cut short due to an approaching gale. The team got two ROV dives in conducting transects as you can see in some of the downward facing photos. A lot of the white objects seen are cold water coral. Enjoy!

On its fourth day of ROV operations UVP conducted 5 ROV dives including four transects and 1 "contact" dive.  Looks like...
11/17/2020

On its fourth day of ROV operations UVP conducted 5 ROV dives including four transects and 1 "contact" dive. Looks like the contacts ended up being large concrete pipes laying on the bottom. The transects went very well with plenty of shark playing with the ROV. Who can name the species in the first photo?

On day 3 of UVP's dredge disposal site survey in the New York/New Jersey bight we had slightly poor visibility.  There w...
11/16/2020

On day 3 of UVP's dredge disposal site survey in the New York/New Jersey bight we had slightly poor visibility. There was quite a bit of rain that washed out in the Hudson River Plume the night before and that morning. Check out some of the highlight photos from the area. Lots of sharks and squid!

UVP completed its second day of operations and one of the longest dives at 10 hours and 5 minutes! This dive was to coll...
11/15/2020

UVP completed its second day of operations and one of the longest dives at 10 hours and 5 minutes! This dive was to collect preliminary information about dredge deposits off the coast of NYC.

The Undersea Vehicles Program is currently up in the New York vicinity conducting ROV operations for the EPA.  On our fi...
11/13/2020

The Undersea Vehicles Program is currently up in the New York vicinity conducting ROV operations for the EPA. On our first day of operations we conducted two ROV dives looking at an area where 5 whale carcasses were disposed of. The plan was to see how the carcasses were affecting the surrounding sediment. Check out some of the highlight pictures from that day.

The Undersea Vehicles Program arrived in Lewes, Delaware yesterday for our last mission of the year.  Our team setup the...
11/09/2020

The Undersea Vehicles Program arrived in Lewes, Delaware yesterday for our last mission of the year. Our team setup the Mohawk ROV equipment today aboard the R/V Hugh Sharp, University of Delaware's main research vessel. The gear went together very quickly with the assistance of the ships crew. UVP is pretty excited about the large amount of space in the dry lab and the large aft deck for ROV operations. We will be departing dock tomorrow afternoon to steam off Sandy Hook, NJ to do a mission with the EPA. We will start posting daily updates Wednesday of ROV operations.

10/30/2020

Here are the final ROV video highlights from our September offshore mission. The dive site footage is from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Tortugas Bank.

NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
10/29/2020

NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

"Nadia Alomari remembers how it felt to be aboard the R/V Manta in NOAA's Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, with miles of blue stretching as far as she could see. Just a few years prior, she had never imagined that she would be a research assistant, much less embarking on an oceanographic research expedition in the Gulf of Mexico, more than 1,000 miles away from her college based in Brooklyn, New York."

Read more about the discovery of an unfamiliar black coral species collected in partnership with Dr. Brugler's Black Coral Lab in our new story: https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/news/oct20/changing-tides.html

New York City College of Technology (City Tech) News Invertebrate Zoology, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

This week the Undersea Vehicles Program is troubleshooting an ongoing issue with the Mohawk ROV.  Over the last few mont...
10/20/2020

This week the Undersea Vehicles Program is troubleshooting an ongoing issue with the Mohawk ROV. Over the last few months the team has had issues with the earth fault monitor on the Mohawk System Control Unit detecting an insulation leak. We decided to remove the electronics bottle from the ROV so we could remove and replace each printed circuit board one at a time to see if that could be the problem. Turns out that wasn't the issue. The next step we took was actually remove the System Control Unit and look for issues in it. This will be an ongoing process this week until we find the issue.

In addition to the F/V Tiki XIV being an interesting scientific vessel the engineering aspects are quite amazing.  The v...
10/15/2020

In addition to the F/V Tiki XIV being an interesting scientific vessel the engineering aspects are quite amazing. The vessel has a single Caterpillar E343 from 1962 in it. The last time this diesel was rebuilt was in 1992 and it currently has 85,000 hours on it. If you convert that to days that's 3,541 days of nonstop running this diesel engine, that's just shy of 10 years! The vessel also has two generators including a 3-phase generator in which the Mohawk ROV uses for power.

During UVP's recent cruise off Ocean City, MD we got the chance to sail on Tiki XIV, https://www.tikiadventures.com/surv...
10/13/2020

During UVP's recent cruise off Ocean City, MD we got the chance to sail on Tiki XIV, https://www.tikiadventures.com/surveys-offshore-opps.cfm One of the cool things about being an ROV pilot is we get to sail on a lot of different vessels. The Tiki XIV is a 80' steel fishing vessel that has been converted to a scientific vessel. There are three 2-man bunk rooms and one 4 main bunk room with nice and wide bunks. The captain and crew conduct mostly offshore scientific operations however they also catch sand tiger sharks for aquariums around the world. Check out some of the pictures we took of the vessel!

The Undersea Vehicles Program just got back from a short trip up to Ocean City, Md to conduct one day of ROV operations ...
10/12/2020

The Undersea Vehicles Program just got back from a short trip up to Ocean City, Md to conduct one day of ROV operations aboard the Tiki XIV. Scripps Institute of Oceanography contracted UVP to remove some line in the water column leftover from a buoy deployment. The trip was successful and here are a few photos from operations aboard the vessel.

On our recent cruise to the Florida Keys aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster we had a very limited amount of scientist abo...
09/21/2020

On our recent cruise to the Florida Keys aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster we had a very limited amount of scientist aboard (2) with us due to COVID-19. Ray, the General Vessel Assistant (GVA) assisted UVP on all deployments and recoveries during the mission. He also got the chance to fly the ROV in some challenging conditions one afternoon and did a great job. Thank you Ray for all the assistance!

The Undersea Vehicles Program was lucky enough to get a tour of the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster's engine room by Matt the 1st...
09/18/2020

The Undersea Vehicles Program was lucky enough to get a tour of the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster's engine room by Matt the 1st assistant engineer. We will have to say the engine room is spotless, very impressive. All 3 of the 50kw generators are fairly new and the main engine was replaced in the last couple years. Check out some of the photos from the tour, and thank you Matt!

A few days ago the chief scientist had UVP dive on some interesting multibeam sites.  These sites were characterized by ...
09/17/2020

A few days ago the chief scientist had UVP dive on some interesting multibeam sites. These sites were characterized by deep holes surrounded by loose sand. They were on the order of 10 meters wide and 1.5 meters deep. What do you think caused these? Several of the holes had human debris in them that we imagined got swept in during high current situations.

Currents were ripping yesterday during our last day of ROV operations, steady 1-1.5 knots.  The team completed 3 ROV div...
09/16/2020

Currents were ripping yesterday during our last day of ROV operations, steady 1-1.5 knots. The team completed 3 ROV dives prior to lunch when we started our transit back to Charleston, SC. Check out some of the highlight pictures from yesterday. Can you find the 2 flounder and the octopus?

Sometimes the dives we complete aren't the most glamorous or exciting. That doesn't mean they aren't useful data for the...
09/15/2020

Sometimes the dives we complete aren't the most glamorous or exciting. That doesn't mean they aren't useful data for the scientists we work with. On this cruise we begin by mapping the ocean floor from the ship using multibeam. With this map, ROV transects are chosen to see what certain features look like in real life. All of this comparative data help benthic scientists understand what they are seeing when mapping from the ship in the future.

UVP got three dives in for operations Friday offshore highlighted by a big Goliath Grouper taking a good look at the ROV...
09/14/2020

UVP got three dives in for operations Friday offshore highlighted by a big Goliath Grouper taking a good look at the ROV. Not everyday a fish has the size and courage to hang out so close!

Good evening from the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.  The team completed four ROV dives today just south of Tropical Storm Sall...
09/12/2020

Good evening from the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. The team completed four ROV dives today just south of Tropical Storm Sally. Water clarity was a little murky however a lot of ground was covered. Check out some of the highlight photos taken today. First photo of green single stalked (possibly soft coral) is pretty interesting, haven't seen too many of these.

The Undersea Vehicles Program made their first dive south of the Dry Tortuga's yesterday.  The water quality was a littl...
09/11/2020

The Undersea Vehicles Program made their first dive south of the Dry Tortuga's yesterday. The water quality was a little murky however the team saw quite a few fish. Check out some of the highlight screen grabs from the dive!

UNCW's Undersea Vehicles Program is back offshore!  The team is aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster with a small team of s...
09/10/2020

UNCW's Undersea Vehicles Program is back offshore! The team is aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster with a small team of scientist from NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS). The mission plan is to conduct multibeam operations during the night and do habitat characterization groundtruthing with the ROV during the day. We have about a 3 hour transit left to the Dry Tortuga's area from Charleston, SC.

Pretty cool stuff here!
08/13/2020

Pretty cool stuff here!

🚨 Ladies and gentlemen, we have spawning coral! 🚨 The UNCW Coral REEF Lab, headed by Dr. Nicole Fogarty, has successfully induced coral spawning in captivity — making it one of a few facilities in the world to do so and the *only* facility to spawn two particular coral species, Orbicella faveolata and Pseudodiploria clivosa. 🤯

Congrats to the team! 👏🏼 This is amazing news for our university and the future of coral reefs 🎉

Read the full story here: https://bit.ly/31SIUdi

The Undersea Vehicles Program recently learned we collected a new species of black coral on Elvers Bank in the Flower Ga...
07/14/2020

The Undersea Vehicles Program recently learned we collected a new species of black coral on Elvers Bank in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary a few years ago. It's been named Distichopathes hickersonae by Dr. Mercer Brugler out of NYC College of Technology (CUNY) and New York's American Museum of National History. You can read about the new species of black coral in the following paper:https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/E5008C684A68284A05427145D417CD14/S002531542000051Xa.pdf/morphological_and_molecular_characterization_of_a_new_species_of_black_coral_from_elvers_bank_northwestern_gulf_of_mexico_cnidaria_anthozoa_hexacorallia_antipatharia_aphanipathidae_distichopathes.pdf

06/25/2020
ROV Seafloor Characterization 2019

ROV video highlights summarizing undersea cliff structures from deep to shallow. Footage taken from various locations along St. Thomas and St. Croix.

06/08/2020
Exploring Deepwater Ecosystems with eDNA

During September of last year UVP supported a cruise researching and developing eDNA (environmental DNA) extraction techniques. This collaborative effort was summarized in the video below by Allison Albritton. Although this was not a normal ROV cruise for us you will be able to spot snippets of footage we have taken over the years!

A team of ocean scientists and engineers from Lehigh University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are developing revolutionary new ways to study the b...

The Undersea Vehicles Program is back at the shop a few days a week getting the rest of the bugs out of the Mohawk ROV s...
05/26/2020

The Undersea Vehicles Program is back at the shop a few days a week getting the rest of the bugs out of the Mohawk ROV system. This past week the team found a electrical grounding fault by placing the ROV in our deep tank and troubleshooting different connectors. Today we spliced together a new cable and we will test the system again tomorrow to confirm the fault has dissipated.

05/12/2020

Who like big fish? Here is a clip from the Florida Keys of Goliath grouper hanging out on an old shrimp boat. The water is pretty murky due to the shallow depths but it's pretty amazing how big these fish can get!

05/07/2020
South Atlantic MPA Cruise

We parsed through 66 hours of ROV footage to find all the best little snippets of pretty video. This was taken from a trip to various places along the southeast U.S. focusing on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

The Undersea Vehicles Program of UNCW work very closely with the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.  Our tea...
05/04/2020

The Undersea Vehicles Program of UNCW work very closely with the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Our team has been working with the sanctuary since 2001 on monitoring their underwater habitats, especially the mesophotic zone. Right now the sanctuary is working to expand to include other nearby amazing underwater habitats. You can read about it at the following link: https://flowergarden.noaa.gov/management/expansionnpr.html

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