About SubseaObservers

What's this all about?

This project came about through the serendipitous introduction of Drs. Phoel and Trembanis by a mutual acquaintance approximately 4 years ago. At the time, Bill a fisheries biologist and Art a geological oceanographer seemed to share nothing more than a love of science at sea and the same PhD alma mater.

What grew out of those initial introductions was the kernel of an idea one that would combine the benefits of an image based seafloor mapping approach with the strengths of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle platform.

It took a few tries to hone and craft the scope and approach to the project but what resulted in the end was a first of its kind pilot study to conduct AUV based image surveys of scallop stocks in the New York Bight off the coasts of NY, NJ, and DE.

(Photo: Science team and scallop crew aboard the F/V Christian and Alexa along with the UDel AUV used in the study. Left to Right: Dr. Art Trembanis, Corey Wells, Bryan Keller, Mike Carrington, Co-Captain Kenny Ochse, Co-Captain Arthur Ochse, Robert Adams, Dr. William Phoel, Mike Newman, Dave Crosson)

Science Team

Dr. Art Trembanis

Dr. Art Trembanis is an Associate Professor at the University of Delaware and director of the CSHEL Lab. Art received his undergraduate degree from Duke University and then spent a year in Australia on a Fulbright fellowship before returning for a Ph.D. from the College of William and Mary.

Dr. Trembanis has over 11 years of experience with AUV and other oceanographic field robotic systems systems. His work entails collaboration and integration of geological, physical, biological, and chemical oceanography from estuaries to the outer edge of the continental shelf.

Ongoing topics of interest include decadal patterns of beach behavior, scour processes associated with natural seafloor features and manmade objects such as shipwrecks and artificial reefs. His research involves extensive field-work, and the fusion of geophysical data within advanced mapping and visualization systems. When he's not planning for or coming from a field expedition Art enjoys traveling with his family and reading books about nautical history.

Val Schmidt

In addition to being the Chief Engineer of CSHEL operations Val is a research project engineer at UNH in the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM). Val served in the US Submarine Service aboard the USS HAWKBILL (SSN-666). In this capacity, Val participated in two dedicated science ("SCICEX") missions to the Arctic in 1998 and 1999.

Justin Walker

Justin is a geology graduate student in CSHEL at the University of Delaware. He received his B.S. in geology from University of Delaware. His master's thesis deals directly with scallops and how autonomous underwater vehicles can be used to aid in stock assessment efforts. Additionally, he is interested in the benefits that image surveys bring to studying the distribution of scallops in their native habitat.

Vinar Amrutia

A master student at Computer and Information Sciences. From India, worked with Infosys Technologies Limited and now with VAST Lab.

Scallop Fishermen

Arthur Ochse

Arthur Ochse was born on January 17, 1950 in Newark, NJ. He attended Asbury Park High School and Rutgers College, NJ. He's worked for 31 years as a commercial fisherman, with 27 of those years spent as a commercial scalloper (co-owner and co-captain with his brother, Kenneth Ochse).

Kenneth Ochse

Kenneth Ochse was born on September 1, 1955 in Neptune, NJ. He attended Asbury Park High School, Stockton State College and Kean College. He's worked as a commercial scallop fisherman for 27 years (co-owner and co-captain with his brother, Arthur Ochse). Kenneth has a US Coast Guard Merchant Marine Masters license for 100 Gross Tons.

When Arthur and Kenneth aren't fishing, they enjoy going to Jets games.

Web Development

Nick Wilkinson

Nick is the developer behind SubseaObservers and runs Modern Science, a company that specializes in creating citizen science web applications.

Nick earned degrees in Mechanical and Mining Engineering at the University of British Columbia before going on to manage a research outpost in the Canadian Arctic for 3 years. He has worked as a web development consultant to the Canadian Space Agency, and has written software to support Lunar exploration field trials for NASA.

Also, he now knows far more than he ever thought possible about sea scallops.

Funding Sources

Scientific Research & Research Set-Aside Programs (link)

Delaware Sea Grant (link)

Scallop Factsheets

What's this all about?

Science Team

Scallop Fishermen

Web Development

Funding Sources