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AUV Arctic Operations

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unique and extreme ecosystem. This research has resulted in the Þ rst full genome characterization of a deep-sea hydrother- mal vent organism - Idiomarina loihiensis, which is a deep- sea living gamma-proteobacterium. HURLÕs latest achieve- ment on Loihi is the Þ rst two-sub dive series inside the active smoking PeleÕs Pit volcanic summit crater for a National Geo- graphic documentary shot with 3D HD technology and to be released in late 2012.Deep Sea CoralsHURL has supported the research of scientists from Stanford University and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who found that deep-sea corals are the oldest living organisms on earth. Their innovative approach in applying radiocarbon dat- ing techniques to branches from coral trees have shown gold corals (Gerardia sp) to be 2742 yrs old and deep water black corals (Leiopathes sp) to be 4265 yrs old, projected to be up to 10,000 yrs old when the diameter of the tree base is con-sidered. BeneÞ ts and importance of these results include a moratorium on the commercial harvesting on such corals in Hawaii. The long temporal history of these corals allows their use as proxies of climate change.PaciÞ c Monuments HURL has a continuing and long-term presence in, and study of, the pristine ecosystems of the Papah?naumoku?kea Ma-rine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Is- lands, which is both the single largest conservation area under U.S. jurisdiction and one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. While a fair bit of work has been devoted to the shallow water ecosystems immediately surrounding the is- lands and atolls, relatively little effort has been focused on the ß anks, banks, seamounts, and ridges below 100 meters, which make up 98% of the protected area. Examples of HURLÕs service and stewardship in this deep water realm include: a) the Þ rst Þ lming of endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals at nearly 500 m depth in gold coral (Gerardia sp) beds, suggesting that the beds may provide critical Monk Seal foraging habitat, b) discovery of over 80 new species of corals and sponges there, many of which are still being analyzed and c) extensive contri- bution to the multibeam mapping effort of the monument fully documenting this national treasure.HURL: Cost Effective, EfÞ cientThe HURL operation is the cheapest deep diving submers- ible operation in the world. With low overhead and low univer- sity salaries, the organization runs on a budget of $3 million/ year compared to 10 times this cost for other similar groups running similar equipment. For NOAA, with a desire to fully explore itÔs western PaciÞ c Monuments, this kind of equip- ment will be critical for the future operations that are planned. If HURL goes out of existence, its equivalent will have to be reinvented down the road. The problem is that once the Pisces submersibles, which still have a 20-year life expectancy, go out of American Bureau of Shipping certiÞ cation, the cost of putting them back into service would be astronomical. Instead the likely approach, as has been seen often in government pro- grams, would be to start over with a new build and a price tag in excess of $50 million to obtain, at best, the same result. The two submersibles are presently operated with a crew of Þ ve specialists at close to a 100% success rate for over 10 years. This is unique in the industry. Adding two more person- nel for ROV operations and another for multibeam mapping rounds out the 24/7 package of capabilities that HURL offers. Other over-the-side operations (e.g. CTD rosettes, Þ sh traps, drop cameras, cores etc.) are also routinely supported from the mother ship, the R/V KaÔimikai-o-Kanaloa. Since 1981, HURL sponsored researchers have spent over 9,000 hours un- derwater around the PaciÞ c.The program has an effective public outreach and education Image Courtesy HURL HURL was instrumental in helping to shed light on the Japanese midget submarines that partici- pated in the December 7, 1941 attack at Pearl Harbor. 26 MTRJune 2012MTR #5 (18-33).indd 26MTR #5 (18-33).indd 265/31/2012 9:56:25 AM5/31/2012 9:56:25 AM

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