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Research and Data Products from HURL Submersible Dives


Projects approved by the Center using OER award funds were designed to further the NOAA mission by addressing the themes outlined below. Preference was given to those in marine managed areas under U.S. jurisdiction that provide data to guide large area ecosystem and resource management plans.

Click here to see past projects.

Thematic Research Areas

  • Extreme and Unique Environments. Research focued on unusual ocean environments in strategic locations, including ecosystems associated with deep sea hydrocarbon seeps, submarine canyons, seamounts, and ridges.
  • Ecosystems of Island, Atoll, or Seamount Flanks, Including the Extended Continental Shelf. Research focused on characterizing ecosystems and assessing their health, including the identification of stressors and processes, to ensure their sound management.
  • New Resources from the Sea. Research focused on new resources from the sea, including marine biotechnology, energy, and cultural or non-living resources.
  • Ocean Dynamics: Episodic Events to Long Term Changes. Research will focus on oceanic and climatic events taking place on a wide range of time and spatial scales along with their impacts on the success and survival of species and communities past, present, and future (e.g., deployment of time series sensors, collection of samples used as proxies).

Coral Reef 'Wet' Diving

    From 2002-2010, the NURP headquarters office initiated a move to expand the scope of HURL's scientific reach to include SCUBA and advanced technical diving to greater depths, under the aegis of NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP). Since 2003, HURL administered extramural research funds from the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program with nearly $1 million distributed under the program. Project locations included all the main Hawaiian Islands, American Samoa, Australia, the Line Islands (i.e., Palmyra, Kingman, Jarvis, Kiribati), Guam, Saipan/CNMI, and throughout the Caroline and Marshall Islands.

    Projects were geared towards management-oriented research and addressing one or more threats facing U.S. coral reefs including fishing, pollution, coastal uses (including invasive species), climate change, and extreme events. The field based research utilized wet diving methods from snorkeling, regular SCUBA, to advanced technical, mixed gas, and rebreather technology. PIs carried out the dive programs themselves under the supervision/approval of their institution's AAUS compliant Dive Program. Diving equipment purchased on grant funds was maintained by HURL and can still be requested for use.


Video and data obtained through use of the deep-diving submersibles and ROV were catalogued and archived. The HURL Archive and Data Portal is now available for scientists, educators, film producers and others to access HURL's data legacy. The following data products are available for most dives:

  • Video -- Not all video has been uploaded to the archive server. Contact HURL's Data Manager with any specific inquiries.
  • Pilot Photos -- Pilots have taken photos through the viewport on every dive since 2003; some highlight photos can be viewed in the mission gallery.
  • QLR's -- Quick Look Reports offer a brief overview of each dive
  • CTD -- Conductivity, temperature, depth data where available
  • NaDS -- Data from the video overlay that includes time, depth, heading, and altitude above bottom
  • Tracking -- Location of the sub throughout the dive

Visit the HURL Archive

Video Technology Improvements

    In 2005, a universal time clock was installed in the subs. The time data was included in a video overlay, which could be disabled temporarily for an uninterrupted video scene. The overlay includes time, depth, heading, and altitude above bottom and these same values were recorded in a data file for inclusion in the data package.

    In 2009, the main video stream was upgraded to full High Definition with the purchase of two Insite Pacific MINI-ZEUS HDTV cameras. On each sub the HD camera was mounted adjacent to the ROS color CCD camera on a starboard pan and tilt. This provided a good view of the sampling basket and starboard side when traversing along walls. The ROS video has the data overlay inserted.

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