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Waitt Institute

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Florida Straits, 2008

The Waitt Institute’s CATALYST 1 Mission was conducted in part to perform sea trials for the Institute’s new REMUS 6000 Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), and also to give the REMUS rapid-response team an opportunity to work together and coordinate operations under at-sea conditions.

Under the direction of principle investigator John Reed, of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, CATALYST 1 used the AUVs to create the first‐ever high definition sidescan sonar maps of deep‐water Lophelia and Oculina coral reefs off the coast of eastern Florida.

Side scan sonar image from Catalyst One

Sidescan sonar mosaic of the 'Triceratops' pinnacles. The pinnacle to the right was located earlier using the ship's fathometer. The pinnacle to the left was discovered during the Waitt Institute’s CATALYST 1 expedition using their Hydroid-built REMUS 6000 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle.

Multibeam Sonar from Catalyst 1

Multibeam sonar mosaic of the three pinnacles, nicknamed 'Triceratops.' Multibeam sonar is more downward looking than sidescan sonar and gives finer detail about the bottom. For example, the height of a feature can be more accurately determined using multibeam data.