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Making Remote Research Possible with Colorado State University

We were thrilled to speak to Caitlin Charlton, MSc Candidate of the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Colorado State University . A student of the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Caitlin is looking at algal pigments in lake sediment cores to determine how mountain lake productivity has changed over time. Relating the algal pigments to changes in landscape characteristics, nutrient deposition and climate provides Caitlin with crucial information.

Combining underwater imagery and benthic algal samples with satellite imagery, allows Caitlin to monitor lake productivity. With this research Caitlin aims to better understand how mountain lakes are being impacted by different global change factors.

Caitlin’s study is incredibly important. Increases in algal productivity in remote lakes correlate with algal changes at a global level.

DTG3 Screen

Using the DTG3

Caitlin uses the DTG3 to map benthic growth on the bottom of lakes and shorelines. Using the ROV, Caitlin and her team can quantify what’s going on at the bottom of the lake.

“We’re mapping benthic growth on the bottom of two of our lakes,” explained Caitlin. “We swim transects across both of our mountain lakes covering 6 different areas to shoot HD video. From there we can gather a percentage of algal growth, extracting frame by frame images to create quadrant transects to learn how much algal growth is present at any given time.”

As Caitlin also utilized satellite imagery for her research, data from the DTG3 was used to confirm what the satellite was picking up.

Future Research with the DTG3

Caitlin’s research with the ROV is ongoing, doing monthly checks with the DTG3 to monitor the seasonal progression of algal activity. “Our data will be paired with remote sensing data to get a complete picture,” she explained.

Caitlin made note of her future plans for the DTG3. “In the summer we plan on using the sediment sampler - we need that quantitative number, a way to verify that value.”

DTG3 Grabber Arm

The Deep Trekker Difference

There are specific features on the DTG3 that allow Caitlin to conduct her research. Caitlin noted, “heading control is necessary so that is extremely useful.” Furthermore “the yellow tether was amazing, very useful for driving and locating the vehicle.”

Sharing that Deep Trekker was a “more affordable navigation system,” Caitlin added that using the ROV was “efficient and resulted in higher productivity.” The portability of the DTG3 was especially crucial in this case. To study the algal activity in such remote lakes Caitlin relied on the vehicle’s battery power to get the job done from topside.

At Deep Trekker we pride ourselves on empowering our users. “Customer service was great - very responsive” said Caitlin. Deep Trekker is proud to be a part of ocean and freshwater science by providing ROVs for underwater imagery, environmental monitoring, species observation and data collection. We sincerely thank Caitlin Charlton for sharing her work with the Deep Trekker team.

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