The Under Water Observatory at the Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Infrastructure - Kristineberg     
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Welcome to the Underwater Observatory at Kristineberg - a unique window on marine life in Gullmar Fjord, Sweden

Background

The Underwater Observatory at Kristineberg was founded in June 2007. It is the first of its kind that continuously sends real-time video observations of life in the ocean to the internet. Through the live-view website and stills archive, scientific researchers and the general public have continuous, immersive access to life in the ocean.

There are currently three cameras placed close to the Kristineberg Marine Research Station (part of the Sven Loven Centre for Marine Sciences at the University of Gothenburg). They are being used to monitor three different shallow-water habitats in Gullmar Fjord.

Collaboration

The Underwater Observatory is a collaboration between the University of Gothenburg and the Maritime Museum & Aquarium in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Technology

On Blåberg Island in Gullmar Fjord estuary, the project has built an ‘observatory node‘, consisting of a small hut connected to the main laboratory with a 400 volt power cable and 24-channel fibre-optic cable, providing almost unlimited power and data transmission to the internet. From the hut, multiple cameras can be connected using a variety of means, we are currently using simple Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) cables connected to Axis IP cameras inside waterproof housings. The cameras are mounted on a variety of structures held in place on the seafloor, and can be configured to focus on different objects (e.g experimental settlement substrates). Camera 1, currently at 6m depth, has been continuously in operation (and recording data) since May 2009.

We have had major challenges to cope with corrosion and biofouling. Camera lenses must be cleaned at least monthly. We are continuously exploring new materials that can resist or reduce corrosion, and to develop technologies to reduce fouling on the cameras, camera lenses and tripods. Efforts to improve technology and make it cheaper is part of the project, so that similar facilities can be established in other locations, such in the outer archipelago of Gothenburg, Koster Sea National Park, The Baltic Sea and around the world.

Objectives

One of our goals is to provide information about what is going on in the ocean in real time to the public and scientists. We also provide a platform to conduct research experiments in marine organisms' natural habitat, as well as observations important for the long-term monitoring of diversity and abundance (e.g of fish species).

The live feeds are accessible on the web but have also been displayed at public aquaria and science venues around the world, for example at the Natural History Museum in the UK. We also work closely together with school project "Virtue" run by the Faculty of Science at Gothenburg University. The Virtue Project students from elementary and secondary schools study fouling in the sea, and underwater observatory will offer students the opportunity to follow the fouling processes in a live broadcast. Scientists from around the world can come to Kristineberg to use the observatory for their research.

The types of data that can be collected from the cameras includes:

  • Colonization and growth studies on artificial substrates (Camera1)
  • Abundance of jellyfish - including the introduced comb jelly Mnemiopsis (Camera1)
  • Abundance and diversity of fish and other fauna from a shallow rock-wall (Camera2)
  • Abundance and diversity of fish and other fauna among eelgrass (Zostera) on a sandy bottom (Camera3)
  • Behavioural patterns and ecological interactions of benthic invertebrates - e.g. brittle stars, sea urchins, snails, clams (all Cameras)

Acknowledgements

Funding for the observatory infrastructure was provided by Sparbankstiftelsen Väst, Thordenstiftelsen and the Västra Götalandsstiftelsen. The underwater housing for Camera1 was generously provided by OceanLab, University of Aberdeen.

References

Glover, A. G., N. D. Higgs, P. M. Bagley, R. Carlsson, A. J. Davies, K. M. Kemp, K. S. Last, K. Norling, R. Rosenberg, K. A. Wallin, B. Källström, and T. G. Dahlgren. 2010. A live video observatory reveals temporal processes at a shelf-depth whale-fall. Cahiers De Biologie Marine 51:375-381.

Källström & Rosenberg: Livesändning från havet (HavsUtsikt 1/2010). http://www.havet.nu/dokument/HU20101live.pdf

Direktsändning från valkadavret: UR Samtiden - Från källa till hav (2012). http://www.ur.se/Produkter/170579-UR-Samtiden-Fran-kalla-till-hav-Direktsandning-fran-valkadavret

Please check our youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/theuwobservatory

Contacts

The following people maintain the observatory: