Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Successful deployment of an autonomous deep-sea explorer to search for new forms of microbial life

Date:
August 14, 2013
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists are reporting "a significant step forward" in proving the feasibility of launching fleets of autonomous robots that search Earth's deep oceans for exotic new life forms. Their description of successful deployment of the trailblazer for such a project -- an autonomous seafloor lander equipped with a mini-laboratory the size of a kitchen trash can that is able to detect minute traces of DNA in the deep oceans.

The successful test-run of a deep-sea explorer represents a significant step toward proving the feasibility of launching autonomous robots to search Earth’s deep oceans for exotic new life forms.
Credit: 2010 Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Scientists are reporting "a significant step forward" in proving the feasibility of launching fleets of autonomous robots that search Earth's deep oceans for exotic new life forms. Their description of successful deployment of the trailblazer for such a project -- an autonomous seafloor lander equipped with a mini-laboratory the size of a kitchen trash can that is able to detect minute traces of DNA in the deep oceans -- appears in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Related Articles


William Ussler III and colleagues note that exotic forms of life may still remain undiscovered around the methane vents in the deep ocean floor that already have yielded previously unknown albino crabs, bacteria that consume methane and other organisms new to science. However, scientists have had very limited access to the deep ocean to search systematically for such life forms. Ussler and his team set out to modify a successful shallow-water robotic laboratory, called an Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), to work autonomously in the extreme conditions of the deep sea and provide that access. The ESP was conceived, designed and built by researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

They describe development and successful deployment of the deep-sea ESP (D-ESP) at an active methane vent in California's Santa Monica Bay. The robotic laboratory inside the D-ESP collected and analyzed water samples in real-time for genetic signatures of microbial life in this methane-rich environment a half-mile below the ocean surface. "The deployments of the D-ESP described here are a significant step forward in proving that autonomous molecular analytical laboratories can be used in the deep ocean. To our knowledge, these tests are the first successful deployments of an ecogenomic sensor that unequivocally detected the abundance of microbial genes, in real-time, at water depths greater than 1,600 feet," say the researchers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. William Ussler, Christina Preston, Patricia Tavormina, Doug Pargett, Scott Jensen, Brent Roman, Roman Marin, Sunita R. Shah, Peter R. Girguis, James M. Birch, Victoria Orphan, Christopher Scholin. Autonomous Application of Quantitative PCR in the Deep Sea: In Situ Surveys of Aerobic Methanotrophs Using the Deep-Sea Environmental Sample Processor. Environmental Science & Technology, 2013; 130808081332004 DOI: 10.1021/es4023199

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Successful deployment of an autonomous deep-sea explorer to search for new forms of microbial life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814124903.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2013, August 14). Successful deployment of an autonomous deep-sea explorer to search for new forms of microbial life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814124903.htm
American Chemical Society. "Successful deployment of an autonomous deep-sea explorer to search for new forms of microbial life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814124903.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins