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Benthic Aquatic Debris Research in Geneva Lake

September 15 2015
The expedition will investigate the amount, type and impact of persistent human-made debris on Geneva Lake’s bottom community. The study will look at ten benthic sites in the lake with a variety of use such as mooring and fishing, and will also look at relatively low-use sites for the sake of comparison. A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) will be used to document debris along designated transects.

September 15 2015


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Name: Christopher Wells
Account ID: 1825848894

Mission Underway

Another snowy day in the Midwest, and this song came to mind - "Oh the weather outside is frightful. But the fire is so delightful." Those conditions made this a perfect day for testing the adapter that makes it possible to use a computer to record video from the ROV. Everything worked as expected. The shot of the fireplace is a still from the test video.


At first I thought that fire scene was playing on your laptop, while you were diving.

If we had been diving today, it might have cheered us a bit to have a fire scene playing on the laptop. Thankfully, the tests were done in toasty warm the library/tutoring space where I teach.

oops - should have been "in the toasty warm library/tutoring space"

Preparation Stage

Pieces of field kit are arriving. Today we got the power inverter that will provide AC power to the ROV and computer while out in the field. We also got the adapter that will allow us to use the computer to record video from the ROV.


Are you going from a battery bank or a generator? We used a nice little Honda generator on the bow of the boat and ran our Pro-3 and Pro-4 off the back to stay away from the noise.

We are planning to use the boat's 12V DC system to power the inverter which will give us 120V AC. The generator sounds like a really nice idea!

Expedition Background

The project will commence what is hoped will become an annual monitoring program to study the amount, type and impact of persistent human-made debris on Geneva Lake’s bottom community. The work will be done in collaboration with Geneva Lake Environmental Agency (GLEA) to gather data for two purposes: 1) to inform efforts to maintain Geneva Lake's resources by protecting, preserving and enhancing a desirable lake and watershed quality; 2) to be used in a number of courses for analysis and discussion, serving more students than just those directly engaged in the project. Up to four undergraduate students will be engaged in the field research and data analysis.


This is wonderful @chriswells ! There are now half a dozen expeditions worldwide looking at human impacts with ROVs on OpenExplorer. Many of them are high schoolers, I look forward to seeing what you see down there, and I'm excited to be able to point the younger explorers to a project they can emulate. Science on!

Thanks for the words of encouragement, @erikabergman! I will be sure to check out the other expeditions that are doing work similar to ours. It is really cool to have a resource like OpenExplorer that allows us to share our work and collaborate with others.