2021 Research News

Tetra Tech Supports UNCW's Undersea Vehicles Program for Oceangraphic Surveying in EPA Region 4

May 11, 2021 – The UNCW Undersea Vehicles Program (UVP) received $24,915 from Tetra Tech, Inc. with survey objectives of determining bottom substrate composition and identifying biotic inhabitants such as fish and coral. The research area was just offshore Port Everglades in South Florida. Remotely operated vehicle operations were conducted April 19-25 aboard the vessel Go America for the Environmental Protection Agency. 

This was UVP’s second ROV mission of the year and quite possibly one of the most difficult undertaken by the team in the past ten years. “Currents were anywhere between 2-4 knots the entire time along with seas in the 4-6’ range. The survey was initially planned over three operation days. However, only two days were available for surveys due to weather. Tetra Tech and the EPA were very happy with the results of the survey considering the oceanographic conditions while working in 200 meters of water,” said Jason White, Operations Field Manager for the Center for Marine Science and the UVP.

Brittle Star on coral


UNCW’s Undersea Vehicles Program is made up of two staff members from the Center for Marine Science, Jason White and Eric Glidden. Their main responsibilities are to maintain and pilot the Mohawk remotely operated vehicle. UVP is deployed on 3-6 ROV missions per year working for government agencies such as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the EPA as well as other entities such as the University of Miami and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution.

There are four more missions planned for 2021, with the team’s next expedition in early June looking at marine protected areas along the East Coast. Later in June, UVP will be heading to Michigan to look at shipwrecks in Lake Huron.

Follow UVP’s social media on Facebook and Instagram. Posts are updated often with daily highlights in the field: https://uncw.edu/uvp/socialmedia.html. Find more amazing pictures from the South Florida expedition at https://www.facebook.com/UNCWUnderseaVehiclesProgram.

For further information contact Jason White whitejh@uncw.edu.