A submarine camera system for observing monk seals

Image © Octopus Foundation

Image © Octopus Foundation

Monk seals? Despite their quite heavy shape, these animals are incredibly quick in the water and thus quite hard to track. And because their natural habitat in the Greek archipelago gets disturbed by the masses of tourists visiting every summer, researchers are closely watching the fluctuations of the local seal population. But how? Andy and Julien, two passionate divers and marine biologists, have found a way to do this right out of their living room in Switzerland.

Together with other members form Octanis, they have built and set up an autonomous, solar powered camera system which takes a picture right inside a submarine cave that is frequently visited by monk seals. Every 15 minutes, 24/7, all year long. And the best part? The image is directly transmitted to their server so they can analyse if and how many monks are present.

Julien and Andy have recently presented their open-source setup at the Dive Tec Exhibition in Saint-Prex, Switzerland. The next step is to create an improved, more robust version based on OIBUS Automation Modules, such that anyone can re-build the system on their own.

Learn more about the project on the Octopus Foundation Website (in French)

raffael tschui