Survey ROV in Marine Science Discovery

Marine biologist Professor James Bell and his team from Victoria University of Wellington have discovered brightly coloured “sponge gardens” using their Boxfish Alpha survey ROV.

The research group have been using their Boxfish survey ROV to explore deep water reefs off the coast of Wellington and Kāpiti. These environments are important marine habitats, and the research project is partially funded by the Department of Conservation.

VUW SBS with Boxfish Alpha Survey ROV
James Bell and team with their Boxfish Alpha ROV during customer training.
VUW SBS During ROV Training
The VUW SBS team practising ROV deployment in Wellington.

To their surprise, the university researchers discovered brightly coloured “sponge gardens”. The areas are teeming with fish because the sponges provide food to other marine life through their “sponge poo”.

We really didn’t know what to expect when we first sent the vehicle into the water and were genuinely surprised when it got to the sea floor and all these amazing brightly coloured sponges came into view.

Dr James Bell, Te Herenga Waka–Victoria University

Read the full article, “Researchers find never-seen-before ‘sponge gardens’ off Wellington coast”, on the Stuff website.