Using Remus 100 Autonmous Underwater Vehicles to Conduct NEFSC Scallop Surveys

The aim of this project is to explore the capability for using lightweight autonomous underwater
vehicles (AUVs) to conduct surveys to determine the population of scallops on the continental
shelf. NEFSC has used dredges to conduct these surveys for many years, but as technology
matured the decision was made to transition from direct sampling to remote sensing using towed
bodies and AUVs. These platforms offer benefits that include expanding sampling for a single
species to broad benthic ecology and not disturbing the benthic habitat. Additionally, multiple
lightweight AUVs can increase coverage rate and may be supported with small research vessels
fitted with minimal deck equipment. This effort includes development of a white light LED
array to provide illumination for a NEFSC-supplied color camera. The camera will be installed
in a new AUV module along with electronics for the LED array. After local testing to verify
system readiness, WHOI and NEFSC will complete a seven-day cruise to conduct scallop
surveys at multiple sites in the Cape Cod region. Operational performance and collected data
will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of using lightweight AUVs fitted with cameras to
conduct scientific surveys of scallop populations.