Folger Pinnacle Instrument platform has a variety of scientific instruments, including a Sony video camera. Here you can see video live from 23 m below sea level in a rockfish conservation zone off the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
When lights are turned on, you can watch sea life in vivid colours. But when lights are turned off, you can see things as they look in the ambient light that filters down through the water to this reef, 23 m below sea level. At night, the video is, of course, dark. We limit lights-on time to prevent light pollution in this sensitive ecosystem.
We turn the lights on twice every day, 10:00-10:30 AM and 3:40-4:10 PM Pacific Time.
ReefCam is controlled by scientists and technicians both at Ocean Networks Canada and other universities and research centres around the world. Some are studying behaviour of anemones, which is why the camera is often pointed at the two anemones and barnacle cluster at close range. Other researchers use the camera to observe fish and other organisms in the vicinity. Technicians use the camera to inspect other equipment on Folger Pinnacle platform, or to test camera pan-tilt-zoom capabilities.
Divers periodically clean and service the camera and instrument platform. The platform is also occasionally detached and lifted to ship for maintenance. As days grow longer in Spring and Summer, prolific growth develops on the camera (see related story ). Unfortunately, organisms can sometimes overgrow the camera and platform much more quickly than we have resources to address. (Dive operations can be expensive!) But, we do send a "scrub team" down regularly.
Several deep-sea video cameras are controlled by scientists through the internet. When the lights are on, you can watch via these pages.
Click the session links below for details on each.