Development of the first version of an Autonomous Tissue Sampler (ATS)

Sampling tip parts of the handheld tissue sampler

Sampling tip parts of the handheld tissue sampler.  An expanded view of the tip is shown in the upper portion of the image with the fully assembled tip below it.  Fully assembled, the tip can be used for tissue sampling on the end of a speargun via a quick release attachment.

Sampling tip parts of the handheld tissue sampler

Sampling tip parts of the handheld tissue sampler

frame grab from the Autonomous Tissue Sampler

Frame grab from the Autonomous Tissue Sampler deployed at 1100 m in Monterey Bay while a sablefish investigates a baited target.  The system operates by releasing a trigger when the fish engages the bait, causing a biopsy tip to sample a small piece of tissue from the side of the fish.

frame grab from the Autonomous Tissue Sampler

frame grab from the Autonomous Tissue Sampler

Dr. Erika Montague recently designed and deployed a non-invasive tissue-sampling device with video-recoding capability in Monterey Bay Canyon at depths down to 1030 m as a possible means of obtaining tissue samples in situ from deep-sea fishes.

This first version of the Autonomous Tissue Sampler (ATS) includes a fully autonomous shipside deployable platform with acoustically releasable recovery system, camera, lights, batteries, IR communication, control system, event detection, and biopsy needles. With these tools she can obtain DNA and video records to identify scavengers in remote regions.

During 2011, Dr.Montague's team aims to develop a more efficient and less invasive biopsy needle for deep-sea deployments off both autonomous and remotely operated platforms. This research was funded in part by NOAA and Schmidt Ocean Institute.