James Lindholm presented his imaging project of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary at Saturday's NOAA Sanctuary Currents symposium. They sent Remotely Operated Vehicles, tethered robots with a whole lot of instruments in front down for nine to eleven hours at a time, taking video. They also used cameras on sleds that could pan and tilt. The videos are amazing, and available to all. Click and watch.
He compared trolling the oceans to learn what's there to learning about the land by dragging a net from a helicopter in the fog. So much remains unknown, but these videos help.
I often reflect on what life is like from the elephant seal's point of view. One of the students working on this project told me that they almost never get a marine mammal in the video. If they do, it's fleeting, just a fast pass and gone. She thinks the noise and unusual movement probably scare seals away.
Another way in which it's difficult for us to know what it's like to live in the ocean.