Fall 2014

Yellow Submarine Broadens Depth of Ocean Research

The Max Rover will travel up to 3,000 feet below the ocean’s surface to study marine habitats and organisms.

HUMBOLDT STATE RECENTLY became the new home of a bright yellow robot submarine that will be used to study marine habitats and organisms up to 3,000 feet beneath the ocean’s surface.

The Deep Sea Systems Max Rover is a gift from the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center at Port Hueneme, Calif. and was previously used by the U.S. Navy to recover aircraft and drones. Now, HSU faculty and students will be able to use it to conduct a variety of marine research.

“In addition to being a tremendous asset to the university, this rover will help enhance our understanding of Northern California’s vast coast line,” said Brian Tissot, HSU’s Marine Lab Director.

The device will be used in conjunction with the R.V. Coral Sea for teaching and research in fisheries, oceanography, chemistry, engineering, environmental sciences and other disciplines and will also be available for contract work.

Among its features are: the capacity to record and transmit underwater video and the ability to carry equipment and collect marine samples with its mechanical arms.

Tissot said the submarine could be used to explore the continental shelf, survey marine organisms, and assess the health of local fish populations.

“We might even find new species and ecological zones that have never been explored,” he said.

The Deep Sea Systems Max Rover is the newest addition to HSU’s marine research fleet, which includes the R.V. Coral Sea and the Hammerhead rover, which reaches depths of up to 300 feet.