The vertically facing towed camera system OFOS (Ocean Floor Observation System) is used to assess large-scale distribution patterns of larger epi-benthic organisms and other objects (e.g. dropstones, garbage) at the deep seafloor. The system is lowered to approx. 1.5 m above ground using a fibre optical cable for data, video and energy transfer, and then towed along a transect at a speed of 0.5 knots.


The OFOS newly designed by the Deep-sea Research Group at AWI consists out of a metal frame equipped with a Canon camera (EOS-1Ds Mark III, modified for underwater applications by iSiTEC GmbH, Germany), a strobe (Kongsberg 0E11-242), four LED lights (LED Multi-Sealite, DeepSea Power & Light), telemetry (LRT-400 Fiber, iSiTEC), and three red laser points (OKTOPUS), positioned 50 cm apart from each other.


The still camera is triggered automatically every 30 sec to minimize spatial overlap of images. Additional manually triggered images can be taken when features of particular interest occurred in the viewfinder.


Contact: B. Sablotny, U. Hoge, M. Bergmann, J. Taylor





Taylor, J., Krumpen, T., Soltwedel, T., Gutt, J., Bergmann, M. (2016): Regional- and local-scale variations in benthic megafaunal composition at the Arctic deep-sea observatory HAUSGARTEN. Deep-Sea Research I 108: 58-72.


Meyer, K.S., Soltwedel, T., Bergmann, M. (2014): High biodiversity on a deep water reef in the eastern Fram Strait. PLOS One 9(8): e105424.


Meyer, K., Bergmann, M., Soltwedel, T. (2013): Interannual variation in the epibenthic megafauna at the shallowest station of the HAUSGARTEN observatory (79°N, 6°E). Biogeosciences 10: 3479-3492.


Bergmann, M., Klages, M. (2012): Increase of litter at the Arctic deep-sea observatory HAUSGARTEN. Marine Pollution Bulletin 64(12): 2734-2741.


Bergmann, M., Soltwedel, T., Klages, M. (2011): The interannual variability of megafaunal assemblages in the Arctic deep sea: preliminary results from the HAUSGARTEN observatory (79ºN). Deep-Sea Research I 58: 711-723.