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Video analysis of Okeanos Explorer ROV dives in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

Project Goal

To complete analysis of opportunistically collected video from remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives in and around the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) to determine the location, distribution, and taxonomic identification of corals, sponges, and associated species in previously unexplored areas, and to examine the associations between organisms.

Geographic Location

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, off of Santa Barbara, California


A technician used standard methods and video analysis software to analyze high definition video and still imagery. Species identification (to lowest taxonomic group), date, time, depth, and location (latitude and longitude) of corals, sponges, and other species of interest were recorded. Still images of species were captured from video and cataloged and archived. Species and habitat associations were also analyzed.


This analysis provided CINMS with insight into habitat of the sanctuary that had not been explored. The high resolution video yielded documentation of this habitat, and provided high quality imagery that will be used for scientific study and education. The video analysis provided information about habitat types and species. A summary report, species list, taxonomic guide, and archived image files were produced. Observations were provided to NOAA’s National Deep-Sea Coral Geodatabase.

Importance to Management

Information from the video analysis of opportunistic ROV dives helps CINMS managers understand what species and habitats are present and where they are found and can inform decisions about where certain activities, such as trawling or placement of materials on the seafloor can occur, as well as where to target future research activities. This analysis informed a subsequent ROV survey in 2013 which targeted areas of habitat similar to that recorded in the 2011 Okeanos Explorer video. Both the summary report and taxonomic guide from the Okeanos cruise were used on the 2013 cruise and the taxonomic guide is intended to be updated as more information becomes available. These projects are greatly increasing the knowledge of deep water habitat in CINMS where over 90% of habitat is below diver depth but little research and monitoring is focused there. CINMS has a long term strategy to implement a deep water monitoring program and analysis from this project will help inform this goal. This project also demonstrated that useful information can be gleaned from missions that were not designed to quantitatively survey habitats and species.

Fiscal Year 2012 Funding


Point of Contact

Danielle Lipski, Danielle.Lipski@noaa.gov