Panel on

Diving Physiology and Technology

11th Meeting Hakone, Japan

Sessions on Deep Marine Technology

A new sub-division: Deep Marine Technology

of the United States-Japan Cooperative Program

in Natural Resources met for the first time in Hakone, Japan.

Technical advances and announcements of innovative programs

by the Japanese and future research plans by the Americans

highlighted the meeting. Brief reviews of papers in

the four topical areas (1) Biology, (2) Observation

Platforms, (3) Geology, and (4) Programmatic

Research are presented.

by Pat Wilde

Established in 1964, the UJNR program of science and technology interchanges now has 16 panels of which Diving Physiology and Technology is one of the most successful and longest running. The major focus of the panel, generally called the Diving Panel is diving physiology and attendant submersible research. The Japanese co-ordination is through the Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC) while the United States effort is through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the Department of Commerce. Formal exchanges between scientists are held every two years generally alternating between countries. An innovation was introduced to the Diving Panel meeting this year at Hakone, Japan with the operation of two simultaneous research session. The major session continued to focus on Diving Physiology as the "Hyperbaric group", but recognizing that technology was advancing in the submersible field a second session was added on Deep Marine Technology as the "Deep Sea Science group". The focus of this new session was "deep sea research that can be conducted from a submersible, ROV (remotely operated vehicle), AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle), or towed system in the Pacific Ocean in the next 5-10 years". This article reports on the sessions of the Deep Sea Science Group.

The new group attracted 22 speakers, 13 from the United States and 9 from Japan. The sessions were co-chaired by Dr. Hiroshi Hotta of JAMSTEC and Dr. Sylvia Earle, chief Scientist of NOAA.

Biological Reports

The initial talks were on Biology. Dr. Chiaki Kato, JAMSTEC, discussed "Deep-sea microbiological research at JAMSTEC" describing the DEEPSTAR (Deep-sea Environment Exploration Program Submarine Terrain Animalcule Retriever) initiative which will move into a 6 story 6,000 sq. meter new facility at JAMSTEC in 1993. This paper was co-authored by Dr. Koki Horikoshi. Dr. Kato also described the development of an isolation chamber and collection system as well as a sterilized Mud sampler for the SHINKAI 6500 submersible. Dr. Laurence Madin of Woods Hole talked on "Use of submersibles for research on deepwater zooplankton and nekton" limiting his discussion to intermediate of mid waters of 1000 meters or less. US research focuses on Taxonomy of Organisms, Behavior, Bioluminescence, Benthopelagic organisms, and Detritus as Marine Snow. He noted that a major source of marine snow was from gelatinous mucous of appendicularians where the actual animal was much smaller than its contribution to the organic detritus. There is interest in the biology of deeper waters, but at present access to submersibles and appropriate technology limits the realistic expectation to investigations in "mid-waters". Dr. Tetsuo Hamamoto of the DEEPSTAR group at the Riken Institute reported on work with his colleague Dr. Koki Horikoshi on "Characterization of an Amylase from a Psychrotrophic Vibrio isolated from a Deep-sea Mud Sample". He stressed the value of the studies of Extremophiles as they are found surviving at both high and low pH (<3 >9), temperatures (<10 deg C >70 deg C), high salinity (>150 ppt), in the presence of > 1% organic solvents, high concentrations of heavy metals such as Hg and Cd and sulfides, and at great pressure. He sees the potential application of such organisms as insights in the design of bio-catalyzers for high temperature and pressure industrial processes. Dr. W. Waldo Wakefield of the National Marine Fisheries Service of NOAA talked on the general topic of "The application of marine technology to research needs in deep-sea biology for the coming decade". He used as an example studies of the carbon requirements of the benthic boundary layer which combine examination of the passive rain of carbon samples by sediment traps to respiration studies both of nekton and infaunas in chambers or by electrodes. He noted that the flux is just not that of simple rain of detrital carbon from above, but involves animal migration via eggs and larva to along bottom down slope flows. As expected the in situ metabolic studies show that the carbon demand from the sediment community far exceeds that of the free swimming organisms. However, carbon budgets show high temporal and spatial variability with a real time mismatch of supply and demand with the apparent paradox that demand exceeds measured supply. He also described the remote vehicle used in such studies of sedimentary metabolism developed by Dr. Smith and Dr. Rymers of Scripps. Dr. Takashi Okutani of Tokyo University gave a paper entitled "Marine Biological Wealth brought by Submersibles--New Light to Molluscan Systematics as an Example" co-authored by Dr. Katsunori Fujikura and Dr. Jun Hashimoto both of JAMSTEC. Dr. Okutani reported on the value of the use of submersibles in the discovery of new communities, especially those of vents where the bathymetry is usually too rough that prior researchers didn't bother to dredge them. Some of the snails found close to hot vents apparently have symbiotic sulfur bacteria. Accordingly, he suggests that "molluscan systematics as well as physioco-ecology of deepsea animals" will have to be revised in light of the discoveries made possible by submersibles. Dr. David Stein of the National Undersea Research Program (NURP) of NOAA presented "Deep Nekton: Prospects for future studies using undersea vehicles". He stressed the need for in situ trap studies, which only can be done by submersibles. Dr. Stein posed the problem of illumination in the deep-sea. It is required for humans to see and to manipulate samplers. But light is not the natural environment in the deep-sea, so how valid are the census measurements and even the behavioral studies done in visible light? Could it be that the old mid-water trawl census data are more valid than those taken by submersibles or by cameras using visible light? He suggested investigation of other sources of illumination to provide a more natural sampling environment. Also, Dr. Stein indicated a need for a study on the avoidance of nekton of submersibles. Due to the lack of data and the large area of the deep ocean, he supported more use of unmanned vehicles which are much cheaper and safer to operate than manned submersibles. Dr. Sylvia Earle of NOAA talked on the "Results of Shinkai 6500 dive and deep sea science and technology needs". Dr. Earle was fortunate to be one the first Americans to dive in the Shinkai 6500 (6500 meters depth), the deepest diving research submersible. As noted above by Dr. Stein, the problem of the influence and impact of artificial light on natural populations accustomed to total darkness or at most bio-luminescence is a nagging one. Dr. Earle proposed using the Army's night vision infra red goggles which detects only ambient light. The experiment was done with red filtered light with bated fish attractants. Accordingly the submersible was essentially invisible to the biota. She reported on such phenomenon as bio-luminescent ink from squid, commenting that 13 phyla demonstrate bio-luminescence.

Sea Floor Observations and Observatories

Dr. Yoshio Ueda of the Japanese Hydrographic Department, representing his colleagues Drs. Akira Asada, Fusakiti Ono, Yoshio Kubo and Motoji Tkawanabe reported on the ROV MARCAS 2500's survey work in Sagami Bay to select a site for a seabottom observatory to observe crustal movements. In conjunction with the survey, test were run on horizontal distance and vertical displacement devices. The goal is to resolve centimeters over a distance of one kilometer. Of the various signal sources tried, chirping at between 30 and 50 KHz gave the best results. The vertical meter uses a pressure sensor with a target resolution of one centimeter. Dr. Makoto Yuasa of the Geological Survey of Japan "Submarine pumice volcano - a submersible study" has proposed that Myojin Knoll in the Izu-Ogasawara (Bonin) Arc may be a new type of acidic pumice submarine caldera, which is characterized by a high gravity anomaly, but a weak magnetic anomaly. Submersible studies show that the knoll is constructed of layers of stratified pumice and dacitic lava which provide the framework for the volcano. Dr. John Lupton of the University of California, Santa Barbara reviewed "Research needs for in-situ sampling and data collection at submarine hot springs and cold seeps". Dr. Lupton also discussed the US RIDGE program and its various international and national counterparts as an example of an integrated research program involving many institutions, but focusing on a geologically specific topic. One of the characteristic features of the oceanic ridge-rise system are the vents, which because of their small size, transitory nature and sometimes hostile environmental conditions require specialized and demanding sampling devices and strategies. The steep chemical and thermal gradients associated with many vents make taking uncontaminated and sequential samples a real challenge. He indicated that technological development or improvement are required in "ultra-precision navigation, rapid water sample collection, data collection at high sampling rates, repeat sampling by autonomous vehicles, and the development of better data links and new in-situ sensors for seafloor observatories. He particularly stressed the need for event detection, possibly by acoustic tomography, of the episodic large releases (burps) of water and gases from active vent systems. Dr. Kiyouki Kisimoto of the Geological Survey of Japan in his paper "In Situ measurements and observation of hydrothermal activity - a feasibility study of new usage of submersible" discussed the results of the Franco-Japanese STARMER submersible/SeaBeam survey of the Triple Junction in the North Fiji Basin. The group found a white smoker where gypsum rather than sulfides were being precipitated. The STARMER program was a five year venture ending in 1992. Proposed is new Ridge Flux (energy and mass) program similar to STARMER but will include a sea floor laboratory. Projected areas of study are the south East Pacific Rise and Back-Arc spreading centers in the Western Pacific. Starting date is proposed as April 1992, again to run for five years. Dr. Peter Rona of NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorologic Laboratory (AOML) in Miami indicated in "Frontier of Seafloor Hydothermal Research" that back-arc basins are an exciting new area of research where the various vent processes obtain but with potentially a different set of chemical, thermal, mineralogic, and biologic characteristics due to the different composition of the host rock through which the hydrothermal fluids circulate. That is basalts in the oceanic ridges and andesites and rhyolites in the back-arc basins. Dr. Rona considers this a logical step in the completing of the cycle of the impact of the discovery of the vents as a major process in geologic cycling buffering oceanic, sedimentary, and atmospheric compositions as well as a principal mechanism for economic mineralization. He demonstrated the variability of vent processes by examples of a comparative study of hydrothermal systems from the TAG vents in the Atlantic with the Juan de Fuca system. Investigation of the buoyant plume rising from the vents with the submersible "Turtle" were augmented by sonar imaging to track the whole plume. At neutral buoyancy the Atlantic plumes were relatively cold and "fresh" as compared to the Pacific plumes which were hot and salty. An interesting biologic contrast between oceans was that no tube worms or clams were found in the Atlantic vents where shrimp (inedible due to the sulfides) swarmed near the vents. "Establishing a SeaFloor Observatory: NOAA VENTS Program's Longterm Seafloor and Hydrothermal Monitoring Experiment" was the topic of Dr. Stephen Hammond's (NOAA's Marine Science Center in Oregon) talk. He outlined some of the chemical fluxes at the vent sites on the Juan de Fuca ridge where silica is added and phosphorus is subtracted from the oceans. Besides the usual physical and chemical monitoring suggested for on-bottom observatory, Dr. Hammond pointed out the importance of studying Megaplumes particularly with respect to the total heat budget of the ocean. The proposed NURP package would be deployed for a year then recovered. Existing monitoring instrumentation include harmonic-tremor sensors, tilt meters, bottom pressure sensors, temperature sensors and moored arrays of current meters, transmissometers and sediment traps. Tests are ongoing on an in situ chemical sensor deployable from submersibles, ROV's or bottom sitting. In the Fall of 1991, an episodic event detecting device monitoring T-phase signals from submarine eruptions will be deployed followed by and acoustic array for measuring horizontal crustal extension. The pilot seafloor observatory is planned to be in place in 1994-1995 on the Juan de Fuca ridge as a co-operative venture between the VENTS program and the RIDGE project. LCdr. George Billy of the US Navy outlined the "U.S. Navy deep submergence program deep ocean science support" LCdr. Billy described the upgrading of the two Navy research submersibles, the SEACLIFF to 20,000 feet and the TURTLE to 10,000 feet. This submersible capability is augmented by ROV's including two SUPER SCORPIO work vehicles. These systems are supported by a civilian manned support ship, M/V LANEY CHOUEST, a 240 foot vessel with berthing for 40 scientists/technicians in addition to the crew. Besides the over the side handling capabilities, the LANEY CHOUEST has a SeaBeam surveying system, an integrated DSV/ROV navigational system, dynamic position, and well equipped and spacious wet and dry laboratories. Access to these facilities has been improved by a co-operative agreement between National Undersea Research Program of NOAA and the U.S. Navy.


Active hydrothermal vents in the Okinawa Trough in the back-arc basin behind the Ryukyu Arc was the topic of Dr. Kantaro Fujioka's talk "Tectonic similarity between Okinawa Trough and Northeast Japan Arc at 15 Ma". He was speaking in behalf of his colleagues of the Deepsea Research Group at JAMSTEC. In this case, the vents are in a belt of subduction rather than on the ridge-rise crest, although the vents occur along a back-arc rift of continental character rather than oceanic. Black smoker with giant clam communities were observed during dives in the SHINKAI 2000. The tectonic picture of the economic Kuroko landbased hydrothermal deposits 15 million years ago is similar to that found today in the present Ryukyu Arc. Active vents also have been discovered behind the Izu-Bonin Arc, but in a more oceanic setting. Comparative studies between the two rift systems in tectonically different back-arc areas are proposed. Continuing on this theme, Dr. Hiroshi Hotta, also of the Deepsea Research group of JAMSTEC discussed a "Proposal for the across submersible transect around the Japanese subduction zones". This will include dives by both the SHINKAI 2000 and SHINKAI 6500 comparing 1. Continental Rift versus Oceanic Rift; 2. Accretion versus Non-accretion; with 3. an across arc submersible transect. Dr. Hotta also described a proposal to place a geological-geophysical observatory in the Japan Trench as part of the MODEPAC program of monitoring of the motions of the Pacific Plate. The initial phase is to start in April 1992 pending funding approval. Dr. Kazuo Kobayashi representing his colleagues Masaharu Watanabe and Suguru Ohta of the Ocean Research Institute of the University of Tokyo gave a presentation via video tape on the "Deep-sea monitoring system on board the R/V HAKUHO MARU". The system is connected to the ship by a optical fiber/electrical composite cable with 6 kilometers of wire on the drum. The on bottom package includes stereo color television, a pair of still cameras, four 300 watt halogen lamps, CTD (conductivity-temperature-depth), a 6 bottle rosette water sampler, and a signal operated clamp for remote release of special instruments such as pop-up OBS (On bottom seismometer) etc.. An acoustic transponder is attached to the frame for location. There is no individual maneuvering capability so the system is hung in the water or towed at speed under one knot along the bottom. Ancillary information as to position, time etc. are superimposed on the video tape record and the output of the recorder is displayed on two video screens on deck. The video tape presentation showed operations of the ship and the system during research cruises to the Japan Trench and the Manus Basin.


Dr. Donald Heinrichs of the National Science Foundation discussed the current policy and directions of that funding agency. In the near term, emphasis will be on the Global Change initiative with the RIDGE program an active component. NSF's evaluation criteria with respect to marine research programs include 1. adequate scientific and technological planning, 2. integrated approach, and 3. international co-operation. Prof. Alexander Malahoff of the University of Hawaii outlined the co-operation between NOAA's National Undersea Research Center within the umbrella of Hawaii's Undersea Research Laboratory. The emphasis is on submarine volcanism in the tropical regions. A keystone of the program will be the establishment of an on-bottom volcanological observatory on Loihi Seamount, the "next" Hawaiian island just south of the big island of Hawaii. In 1992 monitoring will begin routinely with the laying of a fiber optic cable from Loihi to the southern tip of Hawaii. In support of the Loihi observatory and other operations the 220 foot KAIMIKAI-O-KANALOA under construction with a completion date of the summer of 1992. Besides supporting various on bottom and over the side instrument packages, this ship will operate the PISCES V submersible and a modified RCV-ROV. The closing speaker was Dr. Gregory Stone of NOAA, currently on a two year tour at JAMSTEC discussing "Deep ocean science needs, NOAA, UJNR, JAMSTEC". Drawing from his paper (with William S. Busch) on "Deep Ocean Science and Facility Needs" from the summer 1991 issue of MARINE TECHNOLOGY SOCIETY JOURNAL, Dr. Stone gave the results of a survey of 62 submersible using scientists on research needs in the range 4,000 to 11,000 meters. The peaks of interests were in the depth of 5000 to 6000 meters corresponding to the flanks of the Ridge-Rise system and the abyssal plains and 10,000 to 11,000 representing the oceanic trenches. Some 80% of the respondents would be satisfied with eight hours or less of bottom time. Dr. Stone noted that the nations now in the forefront of submersible development are Japan followed by France. One feature of the Japanese approach to deep-sea research was the extensive use of towed and ROV's in pre-site surveys prior to actual dives with expensive submersibles. This not only enhanced the science that could be planned during the short dive times, but provided more regional background data and technological experience, that is not accomplished with the general US policy of dive with limited pre-site surveys.


Japanese progress in deep ocean technology is developing rapidly on several fronts. They have new and technologically advanced submersibles and are planning ones with even greater depth capabilities. They are using submersibles and sophisticated remote vehicles to do the preliminary survey work for pioneering deep sea observatories and remote instrument stations, planning to link them together and to the beach. This would give them a quasi-synoptic capability for sea floor monitoring. Much of their efforts are justified not as pure science, but as filling practical and publically understood needs such as for Earthquake monitoring, fisheries evaluation, environmental testing, and the development of new medicines. Is this way the Japanese efforts are seemingly well financed and actively supported by both the government and industry? American efforts are characterized by innovation, but compared to the Japanese are paying the price for the diverse sources of funding and the fragmentation of oceanographic efforts. Unlike the Japanese programs with a readily identifiable "practical side" even the US programs with a multidisciplinary focus like "RIDGE" are sold on the pure science side, essentially unintelligible to the general public or even to scientists outside the particular areas. Accordingly, in this time of fiscal restraints on research, much of what was proposed by American scientists appear to be just that: proposals. As such, they are unlikely to be either funded adequately, realized imperfectly, or carried out by workers in other countries. On the other hand, a comprehensive general oceanographic effort by a single state such as that in Hawaii, although on a smaller scale has many similarities to the Japanese programs. Hawaii is an island state like Japan, thus there is a high awareness of the importance of the oceans in the political, private, and public sectors. Also being a small state, there is only one academic/research institution located in the capital to engage in marine research.

In general, the increasing ability to operate efficiently and effectively at deeper depths either remotely or in human occupied submersibles indicates that both the technology and the research side of investigations in the deep ocean will continue to develop and produce valuable results. It is not unlikely that within ten years there will be no depth in the ocean inaccessible to human inquiry.