Dale Andersen's Field Reports

Video: Astrobiologist Dale Andersen Exploring Pavilion Lake With SCUBA And ROVs

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
Dale Andersen
July 7, 2010
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Video: Astrobiologist Dale Andersen Exploring Pavilion Lake With SCUBA And ROVs
Astrobiologist Dale Andersen Exploring Pavilion Lake With SCUBA And ROVs — Dale Andersen

Underwater video taken with my Sony PMW-EX1 in a Gates Housing of ongoing research in Pavilion Lake. Dr. Ian Hawes is seen measuring photosynthetic competency within the microbialite structures. The instrument he is using is a Diving PAM fluorometer made by Walz in Germany.

Diving is a great way to work in Pavilion Lake but there are limitations to how long one can stay underwater and how much of the lake can be studied. Another way to approach this is to utilize ROV’s, AUV’s and small, one person submersibles. In this case, a pair of Deepworker submersibles designed and built by Phil Nuytten the President and founder of Nuytco Research Ltd and Can-Dive Services Ltd. Dr. Darlene Lim and Dr. Allyson Brady are piloting the submersibles.

The Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP) is an international, multi-disciplinary, science and exploration effort to explain the origin of freshwater microbialites in Pavilion Lake, British Columbia, Canada. Fossil microbialites represent some of the earliest remnants of life on ancient Earth, and were common from ~2.5 billion to 540 million years ago.

Today, microbialites are found in environments where conditions are often too harsh for most organisms. However, the microbialites in Pavilion Lake have provided a new environment for the scientific community to study that demonstrates that large, and uniquely shaped structures can also occur in non-extreme environments that also support fish, plants and other species.

The microbialites of Pavilion Lake are relevant to our understanding of ancient microbialites that were once common and diverse on early Earth, as such, Pavilion Lake has become an exciting field site for Earth scientists and astrobiologists who are interested in the application of the PLRP research to the search for life in our solar system and beyond.

The project began in 2004, and has grown in exciting new directions ever since. Thank you for your interest!

UW Video Equipment: Sony Ex-1 in a Gates housing with Super Wide SWP44C port and Green Force Squid HID 250 lights.

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻