Patagonia Underwater Exploration

Latest update January 13, 2019 Started on June 8, 2018
sea

Most part of Patagonia underwater landscape remains largely unexplored. In this project we propose to explore, study and share the benthic biodiversity along the Patagonian Atlantic coast. Using diving surveys and OPENROV deployments we plan to study marine life of rocky reefs habitats. Knowledge of species spatial distribution in those places remains scarce and understanding the present state is critical to detect future changes.

June 8, 2018
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Preparation

We are really proud to be part of the SEE initiative. Thanks to OpenRov and NatGeo for the new TRIDENT. We did our first dive and we are motivated to go for more!

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Trying snoot photography at Península Valdes Natural Protected Area
A snoot is a simply cone-shaped tube or device that is used to form a narrow beam of light. This is a useful technique for highlighting the details of marine invertebrates or fishes. Right photo Helcogrammoides cunninghami, left photo an ascidian colony of the genus Aplidum.

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Beagle Channel


We did a short trip to Ushuaia, where we dived to search for rocky reefs. Unfortunately, we didn't find the type of reef we were looking for, however, dives at the kelps forest were great. Species in photos: Top left (Margarella violacea) Top right (Pagurus comptus) Bottom left (Odontaster penicillatus) Bottom right (Haliclystus antarcticus on Macrocystis pyrifera)

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The Atlantic Patagonian coast, between 40° to 60° S, is sparsely populated and considered as one of the most pristine temperate coastlines in the world. It straddles two biogeographic provinces, with both warm temperate and cold temperate species present. Rocky shorelines and gravel beaches are predominant, while sandy beaches are less common. The presence of semienclosed gulfs across the coast (San Matías, San José, Nuevo and San Jorge Gulfs) offers sheltered shores that support biodiverse ecosystems.
In this map we can see some of the sampling sites we want to visit during the expedition.

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Interesting! I am about to start a similar expedition in Cameroon. Thank you for sharing your experience. Looking forward to hearing more from your exploration!

Thanks for your words, Aristide Takoukam. Great to hear about your expedition. Let's keep in contact, sharing advances.

Underwater photo-quadrats are looking good.
We are working on the sampling protocol for benthic communities and using 25 x 25 cm photo quadrats we are getting a nice resolution.

The photos will be available after the analysis on: https://coralnet.ucsd.edu/source/1054/

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Interesting project! I loved backpacking in Patagonia and the Valdes Peninsula is still one of my favourite spots in the world to enjoy nature! After looking at your project, I feel a bit sad that I haven't done any diving while being there! Please continue with this project and share more pictures of this exciting area!

Hi, @Christian Drerup you always have time to come back. You are welcome to come diving with us !

Temperature data loggers were installed at differents rocky reefs. These low cost water temperature data loggers (iButton® cover with silicone inside a PVC cover) were attached into the reef substrate at 5 meter depth , collecting temperature data every 60 minutes.

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“Documentation Techniques for Scientific divers 2018”


I had the chance to participate in an international PhD-course at the Sven Loven Centre For Marine Science - Kristineberg, Sweden. During this course I learned new underwater sampling techniques that will help us during the sampling expeditions Patagonia.

Seminars:

  • The use of SCUBA in seagrass ecology (Eduardo Infantes)
  • Equipment and basics in photography, Macro,Fish and Wide-angle(Anders Salesjö)
  • Photo editing in Light room and Photoshop (Anders Salesjö)
  • Photoshop and coloration in Fish (Helén Sköld)
  • Stacking technology for building up pictures (Matz Berggren)
  • Stereo-video systems (Linus Hammar)
  • Scientific outreach filming (Leon Green)
  • 3D photogrammetry (Eduardo Infantes)
  • Use of mapping techniques in Marine Science (Martin Gullström)
  • Drones for use in science (Eduardo Infantes)
  • Use of underwater tablets, underwater GPS positioning and Allure software (Jouni Leiniki)
  • AUV and applications (Fredrik Gröndahl).
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Some typical rocky reefs from the north east coast of "Nuevo Gulf"


Subtidal rocky reefs are formed by rocky outcrops that remain permanently submerged and provide heterogeneous substrate for marine life to attach to. These habitats are productive areas that support large communities of invertebrates, algae and fish.

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Deepest Dive Until now!
We went to deploy our OPEN ROV close to a rocky reef and we find a lot of life in the surrounding soft bottoms. Max. depth 33 meters !

Buceo a 30 metros con OPENROV

Mirá todo lo que se observa sobre un fondo blando a 33 metros de profundidad en el Golfo Nuevo cerca de la ciudad de Puerto Madryn. Este fue nuestro primer buceo profundo con el OPENROV en las cercanías de un arrecife rocoso el 18-04-18. #openrov

Posted by ProyectoSub on Saturday, June 2, 2018

First dive in the sea for our OpenROV v2.8. We were able to record a school of Scomber colias. Sea temperature was 18 °C and max depth was 5 m.

Very cool! Do you know Vreni by any chance?

Hi David, sorry for the delay. I don't know Vreni Personally but I love her book !

Our OpenROV v2.8 with the Pro Camera-HD Upgrade

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Expedition Background

In this expedition we will try to carry out one of the largest diving surveys in Argentina using innovative methods as time-lapse photography, OpenROV dives, drop-video and underwater mapping. Our main goal is to explore rocky reefs located between 10 to 40 m deep and survey benthic communities. Underwater photo-quadrats along transects will be used to estimate species richness, abundance and species composition. This methodology allows us to get a wide sampling area and cover many rocky reefs along the coast using short dive surveys. OpenROV dives will be used mostly for discovering new places and diving in deep reefs. We will prepare logistic and sampling protocols using the equipment near home (Puerto Madryn) before going to remote places.


Outreach program "PROYECTOSUB"

Together with the scientific results we are going to collect photos and videos that will be used to highlight the beauty and importance of marine invertebrates. [https://www.facebook.com/proyectosub/.]

We also hope to find funding to develop a program called: Dive into our ocean, discovering the underwater world of your own city. Where Kids from local schools of Puerto Madryn will have a unique opportunity to participate in citizen science surveys observing on live aquatic life using OPENROV and obtaining their own research results. This is a perfect chance to outreach about marine organisms and teach why they are important for the ocean. In addition, we intend to inspire young kids to get involved in marine sciences.

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