Ocean floor camera aid scallop research

A SUBMERSIBLE camera system developed by staff at Central Queensland University (CQU) Centre for Environmental Management Gladstone and Queensland Sea Scallop Ltd will help monitor scallops in Hervey Bay.

The camera system will be used to monitor the growth of juvenile scallops that are seeded into Hervey Bay as part of the Queensland Sea Scallop's sea ranching program.

However, the system is not limited to monitoring scallops, and would be useful for monitoring habitats on any soft or sandy bottom seafloors.

Marine ecology researcher Dr Peter Stratford said he and colleague Andrew Davis, had been working on the design and construction of the camera for a number of months.

'The basic principle is based on existing models but with a number of modifications that will provide better visibility and cause less damage to the sea floor,' he said.

'Most submersible cameras are towed along the sea floor on a sled and that can cause a lot of damage and reduce visibility due to the sediment that is disturbed.

'Our system essentially uses a floating frame, buoyed up with cylindrical floats, which we then weigh down with chains.

Dr Stratford and Mr Davis completed final testing on the camera at the Gladstone Aquatic Centre this week and said they were really happy with the results which indicated that no further modifications were needed at this stage.

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