Activity 5: Examining Life in the Depths with the ROV
Have you ever wondered what the lake would look like from a fish’s perspective? In this deep or shallow-water activity, students operate the most high-tech instrument aboard the Melinda Ann, a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV). The ROV is equipped with 150 feet of tether, a camera, thrusters, and lights. They take a diving, loon’s-eye-view of the lake on the video monitor as they navigate the ROV up, down, and around the lake.
- If I could navigate underwater what would I see?
- Does any of what I see give me an indication of lake health?
- To directly see the underwater lake environment and encounter features of the lake ecosystem that can only be seen in that way.
- Discover that most macro life can be found in the shallower areas nearest the shore, where animals can readily find food, cover, and spawning environments.
- Much that they observe may relate to lake health, from a school of crayfish to a bed of mussels on the lake floor. Other things may indicate poor health such as a depleted, lifeless deep hole in an oxygen-poor hypolimnion or an algal bloom that has sunk to the bottom of the lake.
Video of a home-made ROV in McDonald Lake
Video at 90’ in Walden Pond, MA (note color of bottom)