About Us

ROV crew imageCollaborating closely with key players in the oil and gas industry, the "Scientific and Environmental ROV Partnership using Existing iNdustrial Technology" (SERPENT) project aims to make cutting-edge industrial ROV technology and data more accessible to the world's science community, share knowledge and progress deep-sea research. The programme interacts with science and conservation groups globally to communicate the project to the public, increasing the awareness of our fragile marine resources.

SERPENT is a global project hosted by the DEEPSEAS group, within Ocean Biogeochemistry and Ecosystems (OBE) at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS). The project has a growing network of UK and global partners.


We have two approaches to SERPENT work offshore.

Approach 1

Approach 2

Our first approach is simple; we provide advice and tested mechanisms for ROV operators to become part-time marine biologists. We encourage them to be on the look-out for the strange animals that inhabit the ocean depths.

Very little is known about the deep sea, so having a wide team of dedicated professionals with the right kind of skills sending in videos and stills quickly adds to our understanding of this mysterious frontier.

Our database is regularly populated with these observations providing a world-class resource for the operators, the public and the marine science community.

For our second approach we arrange regular visits for SERPENT scientists to offshore oil and gas installations. These might be survey vessels, semisubmersible drilling rigs or production platforms.

These visits are normally about a week in length and take place during periods when the ROVs are not required for industry operations on a continuous basis. The data are then sent back to the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK) for detailed analysis with the ultimate aim of producing peer-reviewed publications.


ZERO increased risk to safety

ZERO interference to operational work schedules offshore

SERPENT will always operate offshore under these “golden rules”

Public awareness and outreach

Another important component of the SERPENT Project is to increase the awareness of the project to both scientific and non-scientific audiences. This website offers a constantly updated online resource, and we also offer printed annual reports as well as an online Newsletter. Media coverage (local, national and international) as well as public outreach events and programmes mean that we are able to distribute SERPENT information as widely as possible.


On a SERPENT offshore visit we work with the ROV operators in their control room with the aim of conducting valuable scientific research during periods of stand-by time. We may also operate in the ROV service area on the rig to process samples (remove animals / samples from small coring devices or sampling equipment). We always observe deck ROV procedures. We follow rigorously the safety culture set out by the rig operators and oil company including the reporting mechanisms and work planning. We also give presentations on the rig about our work during which we talk about our science and show video and photographs so that local personnel can engage with the project and gain a wider understanding of the environment that they are operating in.

Meet the teams

Visit the Core Team page | Visit the extended Team page

Contact us for more information.