The free-fall lander method is now routinely used to deliver baited cameras and traps to the deep seafloor to observe animals in situ or recover specimens to the surface. Baited camera landers operate autonomously under pre-programmed settings, typically with time-lapse still or video cameras to observe deep-sea fauna attracted to the vicinity using bait. The method relies on a basic delivery system comprising ballast weights to sink the lander, and a release mechanism to jettison the ballast and flotation to surface the lander after the experimental period. The scientific payload typically comprises one or more digital still or video cameras with other environmental sensors such as temperature, salinity, pressure or current meters. Baited traps are delivered to the seafloor in the same manner but the payload can comprise a diverse array of traps, designed specifically to target certain faunal groups such as fish or small invertebrates. Free-falling landers enable multiple systems to operate on the seafloor simultaneously and independently of one another. Furthermore, this method provides the opportunity to sample to full ocean depth (11 000 m) from relatively small research vessels. The basic design considerations and equipment configurations of baited camera and trap landers are discussed as well as a review of the types of data typically obtained using this method.
|Title of host publication||Biological Sampling in the Deep Sea|
|Publisher||Wiley Blackwell (Physiological Reports)|
|Number of pages||32|
|Publication status||Published - 8 Mar 2016|