A benthic rover BathyBot connected at the EMSO-WL site for live observations and new data in real time, at 2400m depth in the Mediterranean Sea.

From April 16th to 19th, 15 months after the BathyCruise campaign (EMSO newsletter n°1 – April 2022), the last operation at sea took place to connect the oceanographic instruments of the EMSO-WL site, within the LSPM. Following a succession of challenging weather, the Covid-19 pandemic and authorization problems, the Scientific Pre-Junction Box (PreBJS), which powers these instruments, was finally deployed and connected to the main junction box. These latest operations have powered BathyBot (MIO/DT-INSU laboratory), a remote-controlled seabed robot, and its BathyDock (MIO/DT-INSU/LOV), its docking station, a broadband seismograph (GéoAzur-Nice laboratory), a germanium gamma spectrometer (CPPM laboratory) and a stereo biocamera (IP2I laboratory). A real success, thanks to the efforts of all these research laboratories, and the support of the European network of seabed and water column observatories (ERIC- EMSO)!

New high-frequency data on temperature, salinity, currents and the diversity of plankton organisms are collected in real time, complementing the information acquired by the ALBATROSS mooring line. Indeed, ALBATROSS enables scientists to obtain information along the water column, between 500 and 2500m, while the BathyBot and BathyDock sensors provide a view close to the bottom, at 2500m. This information is vital for monitoring the long-term evolution of this site.

Currently, as BathyBot has been without power for too long, the motor enabling it to move along the seabed is no longer operational for the time being… A disappointment quickly surpassed by the exceptional images acquired through the robot’s 2 cameras and colored lights, which the scientists can operate live. Numerous fish, and more discreet transparent organisms, appear on these images every day. As for the rest, be patient, these observations and the processing of all this new data will take time. We’ll keep you informed very soon!



Photo 1: (© N. Fromont): BathyBot the benthic rover is deployed at 2400m depth and dedicated to the observation of deep-sea biodiversity as well as the environment.

Photo 2 (© N. Fromont): A high sensitivity camera will allow us observing the environment without external light.


DT-INSU: Division technique de l’Institut des Sciences de l’Univers

LOV: Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche

CPPM: Centre de Physique des Particules

LSPM: Laboratoire Sous-marin Provence Méditerranée


Author: Severine Martini, Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO)