Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 20 Issue 01

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Volume 20, No. 1
Pages 152 - 161


Autonomous and Remotely Operated Vehicle Technology for Hydrothermal Vent Discovery, Exploration, and Sampling

By Dana R. Yoerger , Albert M. Bradley, Michael Jakuba , Christopher R. German, Timothy M. Shank , and Maurice Tivey 
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Autonomous and remotely operated underwater vehicles play complementary roles in the discovery, exploration, and detailed study of hydrothermal vents. Beginning with clues provided by towed or lowered instruments, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) can localize and make preliminary photographic surveys of vent fields. In addition to finding and photographing such sites, AUVs excel at providing regional context through fine-scale bathymetric and magnetic field mapping. Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) enable close-up inspection, photomosaicking, and tasks involving manipulation of samples and instruments. Increasingly, ROVs are used to conduct in situ seafloor experiments. ROVs can also be used for fine-scale bathymetric mapping with excellent results, although AUVs are usually more efficient in such tasks.


Yoerger, D.R., A.M. Bradley, M. Jakuba, C.R. German, T. Shank, and M. Tivey. 2007. Autonomous and remotely operated vehicle technology for hydrothermal vent discovery, exploration, and sampling. Oceanography 20(1):152–161, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2007.89.

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