Plymouth University map underwater world with sonar
The mysteries of the deep are to be unlocked at Plymouth University thanks to a new state-of-the-art sonar system.
The equipment will enable students to map the underwater world and visualise in detail features such as shipwrecks.
Professor Simon Handley, dean of the Faculty of Science and Environment, said it had already been tested in the waters off Devon and Cornwall, where wrecks like the HMS Scylla and the SS James Eagan Layne had been examined. "Very few universities in the country can boast such a cutting-edge system, one which opens a window into the sub-sea world," he said. "It's further evidence of Plymouth's commitment to the student experience and its world-leading marine and maritime pedigree."
The Multi-Beam Echo Sounder (MBES) will be used on board the university's teaching and research vessels. It sends a beam of sound into the water and can receive multiple beams back from the seabed or a feature below the sea surface up to a depth of 400 metres. Using specialist software, it can accurately measure latitude, longitude, and the height of the feature. It will enable researchers to conduct seabed mapping, and will be used in fieldwork trips.
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The sonar and supporting system and software will also be made available to companies as part of the university's engagement with the South West Marine Energy Park.