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11 September 2009 - SERPENT is a hit at the British Science festival

Visit the British Science Festival web site

The SERPENT project enjoyed an exciting and productive 6 days engaging with the public and schools at the British Science Festival in Guildford this week. Organised by the British Science Association it's one of Europe's largest science festivals that offers the latest in science, technology and engineering. The event ran from Saturday 5 - Thursday 10 September 2009 and showcased more than 350 of the most exciting and innovative science in the UK.

The weekend saw a total of about 300 visitors a day, mainly families, having a go on our popular Marine Simulation LLC™ ROVsim® Deep Sea Robot simulator in the newly refurbished Trinity Centre at the heart of the attractive market town of Guildford.

From Monday we were hosts of the University of Surrey on their beautifully landscaped campus. That day we received about 400 pupils and 70 teachers, then from Tuesday to Thursday 900 pupils and 150 teachers joined us in an excited and buzzing arena for the SERPENT team. Most were fascinated at how the project through its collaboration with the oil and gas industry were able to use industrial robots to do the vital scientific work of deep sea research. A few of the children couldn't stay away and returned each day to pilot our simulator. By the end of the week they were almost as skilled as the professionals!

 Dan Jones and Chris Roterman chat to the visitors at the SERPENT stand

Project Coordinator Dan Jones and Chris Roterman chat to visitors on the SERPENT stand


30 June - 4 July 2009 - SERPENT at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition

Visit the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition web site. Opens a new window

What a week! The SERPENT project has been very popular with a constant stream of visitors hugely enjoying our amazing Marine Simulation LLC™ ROVsim® Deep Seas Simulator. I suspect the comfy racing chair on the simulator helped - most visitors were really grateful to take the weight off after wandering around the upstairs exhibits and especially on the hotter days, loved the cool of our downstairs exhibition area.

Thanks to all our visitors who asked some very interesting and thought-provoking questions about the project. The show went on until Saturday for the first time this year, so it was great to see plenty of families enjoying an exciting and educational day out at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.

Listen to SERPENT MSc student Raeanne Miller talking about the SERPENT exhibit.


Dan Jones tries out the Deep Seas Simulator

View the BBC video (screenshot above)showing Dan Jones trying out the simulator (4 secs into video)

Huge thanks to Madeleine Bell and the Royal Society staff who have been so helpful and supportive before, durng and after the Exhibition.


5 - 7 June 2009 - SERPENT makes a splash at the Times Cheltenham Science Festival

Described as a "Mind-tingling feast of debate and entertainment", the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK hosted the SERPENT project as part of the University of Southampton's "Oceans on Wheels" Roadshow. For three days at the beginning of June, SERPENT presented at the exciting and bustling Discovery Zone. Patient queues of children (along with some adults!) were rewarded with an opportunity to pilot a deep sea ROV using the SERPENT ROVsim® simulator designed by Marine Simulation LLC™. SERPENT teams were able to discuss the project with adults and children alike who were amazed at the huge diversity of the creatures found in the deep ocean and fascinated by the research being undertaken by the SERPENT project.

The Discovery Zone at Cheltenham Science festival

Cheltenham Science 2009 a festival round-up from Cheltenham Festivals on Vimeo.

Find out more - Contact Rob Curry, SERPENT outreach coordinator

For further information about Marine Simulation LLC™, go to

Special thanks to Shade-a-babe who offered the red beach tent for the exhibit, go to



15 March 2008 - Oceans and Earth Day 2009

Marine Simulation LLC™ logo - visit the site

SERPENT unveiled the new Deep Seas Simulator at Oceans and Earth Day that took place at the National Oceanography Centre last weekend. The stand was innundated with a constant stream of parents and children who thoroughly enjoyed trying to capture sea creatures in the virtual environment provided by the excellent ROVsim® simulation software from SERPENT partner Marine Simulation LLC™.

The SERPENT stand at Oceans and Earthd Day 2009

A buzz of activity on the SERPENT stand at the Oceans and Earth Day 2009

Another specimen successfully collected!

Another specimen successfully collected!

Intense concentration  was required to pilot the ROV

Intense concentration was required to pilot the ROV

Oceans and Earth Day is one of 3,500 events taking place across the uk during National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW), a ten-day celebration of science, engineering and technology coordinated by the British Science Association, which runs from 6 - 15 March 2009. Over 2,000 visitors had the opportunity to see the Centre on Saturday and feedback has been very positive, particularly concerning the exciting atmosphere and enthusiasm of the exhibitors. Dr Tania Smith and Rob Curry had fun training over 300 budding young ROV pilots and were successful in enthusing adults and children alike in the SERPENT project and the science of the deep sea.

The ROVsim® software performed impeccably on the day. Two missions were available for the children to enjoy, and the Sampling mission was the more popular by far, although shark fans were delighted to have a go at the Video Transect mission which featured a realistic Porbeagle shark occasionally cruising into camera!

In all, the simulator was a resounding success both for children and adults, with a lot of interest shown by other projects at NOCS. Many thanks to Shade-a-babe for providing the Nomad sun shelter for the stand.

Find out more - Contact Rob Curry, SERPENT outreach coordinator

For further information about Marine Simulation LLC™, go to

For further information about Shade-a-babe, go to



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01 December 2008 - SERPENT and Marine Simulation LLC™ in new deep-sea partnership

Marine Simulation LLC™ logo - visit the site

SERPENT, the UK deep sea research project, and Marine Simulation LLC™, developers of cutting-edge simulation software today announced a new working partnership.

Collaborating 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 Remotely Operated Vehicle (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), UK. The project has a growing network of UK and global partners.

Marine Simulation LLC™, based in North Carolina, USA, produces computer-based 3D simulations of surface and sub-surface craft for marine professionals and are the developers of the ROVsim® line of underwater robotic simulators. Using state-of-the art technologies originally developed for the video game industry and over 2 decades of hands on industry experience, their simulations deliver a level of visual and functional realism never before possible.

The collaboration will result in a dedicated ROVsim® simulation package that closely mirrors SERPENT research activities in the deep oceans. SERPENT aims to monitor and collect data from the world’s biodiversity hotspots by using oil and gas industry ROVs. The data consists principally of images and video, making virtual simulators ideal for emulating this activity.

The software will have its first trial as an outreach tool. Mounted on a sit-in ROV simulator it will form one of several outreach projects in the 2009 “Oceans on Wheels” Roadshow organized by the Faculty of Engineering, Science and Mathematics at the University of Southampton. The simulator will be a fun way for teenagers to understand how SERPENT contributes to our knowledge of the deep sea environment. SERPENT will also be using the software as part of a free training programme to ROV companies.

Dr. Daniel Jones, SERPENT Project Coordinator said “We’re very excited about this new partnership. SERPENT will benefit hugely from being able to offer virtual missions of this kind, both as an outreach activity as well as to ROV pilots who I’m sure will welcome the chance to learn more about their deep sea working environment. We are very grateful to Marine Simulation LLC for their excellent support.”

Find out more - Contact Rob Curry, SERPENT outreach coordinator

For further information about Marine Simulation LLC™, go to



SERPENT project has enthusiastic support from the children of Tunza 2008

A thousand participants from 106 countries descended on Stavanger, Norway last week to attend Tunza 2008, the UN's International Children’s Conference on the Environment.

The participants, children between the ages of 10 and 14 had carried out various environmental projects in their home countries prior to the conference. The conference offered a broad programme which included a total of 70 workshops and 50 excursions. The aim of Tunza 2008 was to expose the children to ways in which they can help create a better environment and climate on the planet.

StatoilHydro, a leading partner of the SERPENT project was supporting the conference, which opened on 17 June. At Tunza, the children, who will likely become the leaders of tomorrow, helped to develop solutions to face the world's environmental challenges and had the opportunity to meet today's leaders in many fields of research and policymaking.

They were able to express their views and thoughts about the environment and had a unique opportunity to help bring about change. The event also helps to raise awareness among authorities, business and industry and the society at large that it is important to have a dialogue with children and youth with regard to environmental work.

SERPENT outreach coordinator Rob Curry in partnership with StatoilHydro, the Norwegian gas and oil company and Oceaneering, a world leading ROV company, designed and delivered a highly successful workshop entitled “Deep sea species - what is actually down there?”

It was an excellent opportunity to show children how the SERPENT project uses industrial Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to undertake deep sea research and to search for creatures.

The children attending the workshop who came from 10 different countries, enjoyed the 7 different activities on offer, which gave them an opportunity to have fun and understand the work of SERPENT and its relationship to its industrial partners. The workshop was held at Oceaneering’s high-tech ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) MIMIC simulation suite at the Stavanger facility in Norway.

The star attraction was the simulators themselves. These are cutting-edge training simulators that allow Oceaneering to offer an almost limitless range of deep sea hardware scenarios at a fraction of the cost of using real ROVs. Like a giant video game, the children had great fun in maneuvering their ROV in a realistic environment to undertake a deceptively simple task on an undersea structure.

The adults had an equally fun time while “testing” the system prior to the workshop!

SERPENT would like to thank Nina Aas, Ingvild Fladvad Størdal, Lars Petter Myhre and Anne-Lise Heggø of StatoilHydro and Espen Rødsand and Eirik Gravdal of Oceaneering without whom the workshop could not have happened.

The children all agreed that they had had a great time and learned a lot about the sub sea environment through their experience in the SERPENT workshop. They each left with a “SERPENT: exploring the Deep” video for their school and a copy of the SERPENT Annual Report.

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11th International Deep-Sea Biology Symposium

Find out more about BP Find out more about Kongsberg Find out more about NOC - opens new window

BP Kongsberg Underwater Image Competition 2006

This competition is now closed. View winning entries for each category here!

  1. Underwater Images (>200m depth).

    These can include images taken from ROVs, AUVs, manned submersibles , landers and drop/bounce cameras.

  2. Technical Underwater Images (>200m depth).

    These can include images taken with swath bathymetry, side-scan sonar, scanning sonar, acoustics or anything else that does not use a conventional camera system.

  3. Microscopic / specimen images of deep – sea species or features.

    We recognise it is not always possible to view the smallest components of the ocean and therefore we are looking for the best microscope and specimen photography undertaken in the laboratory of species collected deeper than 200m.

  4. Fieldwork / experimental set-up / vessels & vehicles / equipment.

    Images of the equipment used in deep-sea exploration and research, e.g submersibles at work, specimen sampling, or research platforms at sea (vessels, ROVs, ships, grabs, trawls). We stress they must tell a novel or unique story and be visually appealing.

  5. Underwater video footage.

    We would like to welcome short (< 1 min) video clips from 200m + of exciting, novel and unique underwater observations, both technical and scientific in order to promote the role of video observations in understanding the function of the deep ocean.


Each category will have 3 main cash prizes. 1st = £500, 2nd =£300, 3rd = £200.

In additional the panel will also decide upon 1 special contribution that did not win an individual prize but provided a worthy contribution to the competition and marine science.


All images will be viewed as part of the 11th International Deep-Sea Biology Symposium, 9-14th July 2006, Southampton, UK, with the winning entries displayed in a Southampton City Art Gallery during the week of the symposium. The best images will be displayed as part of media coverage of the Symposium and in a special publication showcasing the winning and highly commended entries. Images may also appear on the website for promotion of the competition.

Judging Panel

Dr Alexander Mustard – Ocean Insight Ltd – Chair
Dr Martin Angel – National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
Dave Mackay – General Manager, Kongsberg Maritime LTD
Lisa Andrews – Editor, BP Magazine
Guy Cantwell – Manager, Corporate Communications, Transocean
Tim Craven – Project Organiser and Curator, Southampton City Art Gallery

Rules and Regulations
  1. The competitor must be the owner or have the permission for the image/footage entered. Where footage is taken as part of an oil and gas operation permission from the operator/contractor is sufficient.

  2. Images that have won other awards in major competitions are not eligible.

  3. Entry formats for images can be any common type. JPEG, TIFF, RAW, Slide, Prints, Transparencies. If in doubt please contact the organisers.

  4. Entry formats for video footage can be in any of the following formats. VHS, SVHS, DVD, DVCAM, MiniDV, Quicktime, AVI or MPG. The video footage should be no longer than 1 minute. For further queries contact the organisers.

  5. The decision of the judging panel is final. The judging panel reserve the right to withhold awards should the entries contravene any of the rules or regulations.

  6. Entries must be received by the 9th May 2006. Deadlines will not be extended, unless under special written circumstances. The results will be announced 2 weeks prior to the Symposium and presentations will be made during Symposium events 9-14th July 2006. Invitations to collect winning awards will be made if appropriate.

  7. The organisers and sponsors reserve the right to free reproduction and exhibition of the entries only in connection with the promotion of, and publicity of the competition and the conference.

  8. The organisers and sponsors cannot except any liability for the handling of the images, while every care will be taken to avoid any damage or loss.

  9. All entries must be accompanied by an entry form. The return of images / footage will only be made available with the provision of a paid addresses envelope and forwarding instructions.

  10. Only 3 entries per category are permitted from one individual.

Organising Team

Lis Maclaren, NOC,S
Dr Ian Hudson, NOC,S
Daniel Jones, NOC,S

11th International Deep-Sea Biology Symposium

BP Kongsberg Underwater Image Competition 2006: Winning entries
Category 1: Underwater images (>200m depth)
Category 2: Technical Underwater images (>200m depth)
Category 3: Microscopic / specimen images of deep-sea species or features
Category 4 : Fieldwork / experimental set-up / vessels & vehicles / equipment
Category 5: Underwater video footage


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SERPENT Forum 2004 - A Success.... and a little bit of snow!!!


Ian and Andy being interviewed by the BBC


Top Row (Left to Right) Ben Wigham (SERPENT Aberdeen, Oceanlab), Doug Halkett (Transocean), Ian Hudson (SERPENT Coordinator, NOCS) Andy Byatt (BBC NHU), Vernon Fawcett (Subsea 7)
Bottom Row (Left to Right) Bob Clark (Transocean), Penny Allen (BBC NHU), Sean Young (BP), Dave Billett (NOCS).

The 1st (of what we hope to be many) SERPENT forums took place on Tuesday 2nd March, 2004 at the Transocean Training Centre, amid a snow encrusted Aberdeen. The event hosted delegates from almost every major oil and gas producer and related company, local media, BBC's Blue Planet Team, science institutions, government...........

The event showcased SERPENT,and the concepts, findings and future of the project from both science and industry perspectives. The event was aimed at promoting the potential of SERPENT as a project for many more companies and institutions to become involved with as project partners. It was generally felt SERPENT was a project for anyone and everyone, with many levels of involvement possible, and not only limited to the oil and gas industry.

The welcome address by Doug Halkett, North Europe Manager, Transocean, outlined their global support for the project, and the reasons they felt the time was right for more partners to join the project and the existing partners to promote their involvement and experiences of SERPENT to their industry colleagues. Hearing about the project from this side of the fence would prove to be a benefit for any company curious to know what SERPENT could mean for them.

The opening talk by Ian Hudson, project coordinator, showed clearly why, to science, SERPENT was the most exciting development in UK and hopefully global science for many years. The potential of the project was shown to be huge and the level of success so far was a clear indication that the project was something special that would only grow.

It was decided that SERPENT was not another initiative for the industry, but an opportunity to be part of something significant for the future that can really make a difference.

A new chapter in the project is hopefully about to begin where "More partners, means more science, and more long-term success".


For further information on SERPENT news stories contact us.