Arctic seafloor at 300m off the coast of Svalbard taken with the deep-sea camera system. The 2 red dots in the centre of the image are from lasers that are spaced 26cm apart, which allow us to take measurements of the sizes of animals and other interesting features at the seafloor. (Photo: IRIS)

IRIS deep-sea photographic facility

IRIS has recently invested in a brand new deep-sea camera system for habitat mapping and time-lapse investigations at the deep seafloor.  The camera system is the first Ocean Imaging Systems DSC24000 system built, and is rated to work at depths down to 6km. It features a 24 mega pixel camera that allows high resolution imaging of ocean life at the seafloor, and is made exclusively of titanium allowing long term camera deployments to be undertaken. IRIS will be using the camera for habitat mapping and megafaunal surveys, and for short term (< 1 month) and long-term (>12 month) time-lapse studies at the deep seafloor to document processes, such as scavenging, and anthropogenic impacts on deep-sea corals and sponges. 

Below are some images taken at 1250m depth to quantify scavenging on mackerel and jellyfish baits using the Ocean Imaging System.  For a short movie of what we found, you can click here.
Photo: IRIS
The above photo shows Sognefjorden seafloor at 1250m.  The brown areas show the presence of recently settled marine snow (phytodetritus), while the whitish areas show where an animal has removed the marine snow from the sediment surface.  The 3 red galatheid crabs are the species, Munida tenuimana.
Photo: Sweetman et al. 2014 (Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences)
The above photo shows the scavenging response to dead mackerel bait at 1250m captured by the camera in time-lapse mode.  The camera was sent to the seafloor on a benthic lander (similar to POLIRIS) for a period of 18hrs with a mackerel