Man did not wait to descend himself into the abyss to get an idea of what was there, or to have robots to do it for him. From the surface, he began by sounding the bottom, then by gathering multiple information in his dredges, his bottles...
Since the first soundings by Magellan, instrumentation had greatly improved. Nowadays, a great number of different equipment, sometimes rustic or often complex, are used for the scientific study of the deep sea. Derived from shallow-depth equipment, these instruments have been adapted to work at great depths.
The instruments are deployed from ships at the surface when autonomous, from manned or other submersibles (ROV, AUV…) that act as a shuttle between the surface and the seabed, from deep-sea platforms on the seabed (observatories), or from satellites.
A distinction can be made between observation, measurement and sampling equipment.
Specific attention is given to the oldest measure: depth. Here, we present the specific equipment dedicated to marine soil and subsoil (the seabed), and fauna. Researchers have a vivid imagination to invent, adapt and improve the equipment they need and it is impossible to make a complete inventory.
The Instrumentation team of the CTDI group manages a range of equipment, detailed below (links on images).