Discoverer Deep Seas

Mission 3

Location: Discoverer Deep Seas
Position: Walker Ridge, Gulf of Mexico
Depth: 6895 ft (2101.6 m )
Dates: 19 - 22 February 2008
Industry Partners  
Gas & Oil Company Chevron
ROV Operator: Subsea7
Rig operator: Transocean
SERPENT Representatives: Mark Benfield

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Mission Plan

This was the first Gulf SERPENT mission to the DDS and marked the beginning of the operational phase of our collaboration with Chevron. This site visit was designed to introduce the ROV and drilling teams to the Gulf arm of the SERPENT project as well as to familiarize everyone with our survey protocols.

I flew out to the DDS from the Chevron Leeville Heliport along with Alexis Denz (Chevron Energy Technology Company). Alexis is working on trials to evaluate new dynamic positioning (DP) system software for ROVs. Her group was interested in combining subsea DP technology with the SERPENT surveys. Being able to precisely locate the ROV’s x and y position in true geographic coordinate space would be very useful.

After being briefed on safety aboard the DDS, we met the ROV team. The supervisor (Tony Kastropil) has been a staunch supporter of the SERPENT Project and he was involved in the SERPENT‐related research conducted by the BBC aboard the DDS for their Blue Planet documentary.

This mission concentrated on observing and recording fauna encountered while undertaking video transects in the water column. Surveys began at 600’ and continued down to 2032’.

Eco Highlights

A variety of fauna (mainly invertrebates) were encountered during the video transects.

Jelly image   Ctenophore image

Jelly (Solmissus)

  Cteophore (Eurhamphaea)
Ctenophore image   Siphonophore image

Cteophore (Ocyropsis sp.)


  Large Apolemiid
Jelly image   ctenophore image

Jelly (Solmissus)


  Cteophore (Ocyropsis sp.)
Ctenophore image   Salps image
Cteophore (Ocyropsis sp.)   Salp colony


Gulf of Mexico location map Dr Mark Benfield

About Mark
T: +1 225-578-6372
E: mbenfie[at]