About This Project
The goal of this project is to use an ROV to catch Mesophotic Reef fish and a hyperbaric chamber to successfully acclimate these fish to surface pressure. This has been a problem for scientists for the last decade. As fish have an organ called the swim bladder that contains air and, therefore, expands as pressure decreases. A submersible hyperbaric chamber will maintain capture pressure so it can be slowly bled off. We hypothesize that using a ROV to capture fish will be more efficient.
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What is the context of this research?
Mesophotic reef fish have been elusive to scientists for years due to their delicate swim bladder which enables them to stay afloat. This sac inside the fish is filled with air and when the animal is brought towards the surface the bladder rapidly expands due to the pressure decrease. This crushes the surrounding organs. The other issue has been the capture method, divers and submersibles are usually used but both are time limited and expensive. We believe the use of a specially designed ROV paired with a submersible hyperbaric chamber will allow us to catch fish and slowly bleed the pressure at the surface. The hope is to collect a variety of species to create a biodiversity paper on Mesophotic Reef fish in St Lucia.
What is the significance of this project?
The use of an ROV to catch these fish is another first in the marine world which has yet to be accomplished. By continuing to develop the communities knowledge of pressurizing and acclimating fish we are essentially getting a couple of steps closer to having deep water fish in lab conditions and even aquaria. Our work through this research could help take steps forward to a stronger knowledge in this field. With overfishing, pollution, and climate change becoming a more serious and serious issue. Understanding Mesophotic reefs susceptibility to these outside forces has become an extremely important issue, and a good way of figuring out their susceptibility is through the health of the fish.
What are the goals of the project?
Our first goal of course is to able to successfully acclimate fish from depth with a generally high survival rate. Being that close to 90% of fish survive the three days of decompression.
Our secondary goals are to collect as many different species of mesophotic reef fish as possible. The more species we are able to collect the more we will have to write about the biodiversity of St. Lucia.
Using and building an ROV and filter housing to catch and pressurize fish is the final goal of the project. The filter housing is the first step of this entire project. The housing must be modified to be able to accommodate maintaining a pressure of around 200 psi.
All these items are essential for the completion of the project. Many were used by the California Academy of Science in a similar project was accomplished. Products listed will be used in the construction of the hyperbaric chamber; this includes a water filter housing, shut off valves, sheet metal door, hinges, and springs. And the ROV which will require motors, servos, wiring, cameras, speed controllers, a transmitter, and a receiver. As well as many other parts, but these parts for both will make up the foundation which is why i am asking for as much as I am. I do except there to be some expenses outside of the allotted funding which I except to pay for on my own.
Supplied by the middle of November we would start building within about a week of that and be done with all aspects of the building process by the middle of December. Testing will go from December to January, and be operation ready by February ready to go for testing in St. Lucia in February. This project of course requires a lot of building with little to no instructions, other than the blueprints we have created. Several weeks will be needed to finish the project. Lab notes will be included.
Nov 04, 2019
Nov 30, 2019
Dec 13, 2019
Finish Building Hyperbaric Chamber
Dec 16, 2019
Dec 20, 2019
Finish Building ROV
Meet the Team
Sam Brandt and Sid Suppiah
I have a deep passion for marine biology, specifically learning about Mesophotic Reef fish. I have experience in a number of fields, including time working at the MBL labs in Woods Hole, Massachusetts with the Sea Education Association. I also have experience doing crustacean behavior research at the SHOALs Marine Laboratory in Maine, as well as a local predatory fish distribution study in Curacao, with the CARMABI Research Station
California Academy of Sciences have accomplished a project much like the one being proposed.
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