Puerto Rico Trench
Promare Sends First Robot to the Bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench
Deepest Atlantic Sea Floor Teeming with Life
In 2012 ProMare’s prototype robotic vehicle was sent to the deepest parts of the Atlantic Ocean for the first time ever. Video and the recovery of some of the deepest marine life ever found proved that the deepest parts of the ocean can be explored at relatively low cost.
The Puerto Rico Trench, the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean, is about 500 miles long and some 50-125 miles north of Puerto Rico, and is more than 26,000 feet deep.
The attached video is the first ever images of the trench floor and its inhabitants.
Developing the ROV and Diving to the Puerto Rico Trench
In order to explore the deepest parts of the world’s oceans on a small budget, ProMare began development of a low-cost, full-ocean-depth drone.
The ProMare drone descends to the bottom on a pre-programmed survey to collect video and other data.
In the Puerto Rico Trench, the system carried out a three-hour dive to an unseen and unexplored part of the Atlantic Ocean and recorded depth and temperature profiles as well as deep-water species. Though no animals appeared at the beginning of the dive, light and bait soon attracted several animals. Most notable are swarms of amphipods and bottom-crawling creatures. Of the two invertebrate creatures, Dr. Stace E. Beaulieu of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute has identified a sea cucumber. It has been tentatively assigned to the genus Peniagone. The other species, which walked and jumped across the sediment, is possibly a munnopsid isopod. These sightings likely exceed the deepest known depth records for genus Peniagone and family Munnopsidae. Though it was impossible to recover a sample of the two invertebrate creatures, numerous amphipods were captured and brought to the surface for further study.