Beyond the Wow: Anatomy of a Dive

Exploring the deep sea with remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) isn’t just about the “WOW” moments when we see eye-to-eye with a sperm whale or marvel at an umbrella-like dumbo octopus. Every highlight video you see on our social media is the result of months of careful planning and hours spent exploring and cataloging the diversity of the seafloor. Go behind-the-scenes of an ROV dive with our Chief Scientist, Dr. Nicole Raineault, as she walks through the phases of every dive we conduct: plan, descend, explore, sample, and ascend. 

Plan: review seafloor maps and identify target sites of interest to explore
Descend: confirm dive plan as ROVs Hercules and Argus travel down to the seafloor 
Explore: move from waypoint to waypoint as we document seafloor unseen by human eyes
Sample: collect organisms, rocks, and water samples to bring back to the surface to study
Ascend: complete dive objectives and recover ROVs and samples for processing 

Learn more about our science focus and technology aboard E/V Nautilus. Build your own neutrally buoyant model to match the challenge of an ROV flying over the seafloor.