Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Submarine in search of alien species in Lough Erne

A high-tech submarine has been commissioned to find an alien species of zebra mussels under the surface of Lough Erne in County Fermanagh which can have a devastating impact on the local marine environment.

Lough Erne was one of the first lakes in Northern Ireland to be infected by zebra mussels, which can cause the ecology of lakes to change substantially or even collapse.

The autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is being developed by Leo Steenson (26) from Glenarm, County Antrim, who is a PhD student at the University of Southampton, and is being used to scour waters below the surface to reduce the risks of sending people underwater.

"The idea for monitoring the oceans and lakes like this is to send machines rather than people to reduce risk, but also we can get much more repeatable and better data if we send machines to do these experiments," Mr Steenson told the BBC.