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Manual Research Protocol

Manual research data was used to fill in many of the gaps left by the survey responses. These are the protocols used to collect manual research data for this assessment.

Published onSep 12, 2022
Manual Research Protocol
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We used the following protocol to standardize how information was searched to respond to the different questions. We supported each piece of information with web-based references or national and international reports. We made sure that websites were still active and that the dates of publications were recent enough to reflect current capacity.

1. Organizational Infrastructure 

1.1 Organizations (Q7R-Q9R)

In our survey, we asked respondents to identify deep-sea and marine organizations, including universities and research laboratories (Q7R), government agencies and ministries (Q8R), and other organizations (Q9R). Responses were open-text.

We also used scientific literature and available databases to identify institutions and experts.

Scientific Literature 
We used online platforms such as ScienceDirect, Google Scholar, Researchgate, EBSCOhost, Directory of Open Access Journals, or Scopus with the following keywords:

  • “deep-sea,” “abyss,” “deep-sea trenches,” “deep-sea canyon,” “deep ocean,” “deep waters”

  • “marine biology” 

  • “ctd,” “conductivity temperature depth profiler” 

  • “adcp,” “acoustic doppler current profiler”

  • “eDNA,” “environmental dna”

  • “computational cluster” 

  • “off-shore”

  • “deep sea mining”

  • “deep sea fishing” 

  • “hydrography,” “hydrodynamics,” “deep circulation” 

Once relevant deep-sea papers were found, we checked the author’s institutions and other publications. We then checked the institution’s website to assess its relevance.

Organization and Expert Databases 
We used the following known inventories of ocean-related institutions and experts:

For example, the process of using Ocean.Expert.org was:

  • Search by country on OceanExpert website > list of institutions & expert(s) for each institution > check expertise, roles, and institution’s website for relevance and if deep sea is mentioned. 

  • Check if websites and links are recent enough and still work.

  • Add the institution as Academic/Gov/NGO in the spreadsheet.

1.2 Industries

We researched whether or not the following 13 marine industries were present in each GeoArea: fisheries, aquaculture, marine transportation, marine shipping, marine biotechnology, tourism, conservation & protection, offshore oil & gas, safety & surveillance, marine construction, marine research & development, ocean renewable energy, and deep-sea mining.

We used general search engines with general and refined queries using the name of each GeoArea and the following keywords:

  • Maritime affairs, Blue economy 

  • Marine conservation organizations, environment protection, conservation

  • Marine science, Marine research

  • Aquaculture, fisheries

  • Ocean Renewable, wind energy

  • Offshore oil 

  • Deep sea mining (or “Deep-sea mining”)

  • Navy

  • Shipping, marine freight

  • Marine tourism

  • Shipbuilding, naval architects

  • Marine industries

We also researched international listings such as:

2. Technical Capacity

2.1 Vessels 

What types of vessels are present in each GeoArea? (Q12R)
We searched for the types of vessels present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea has research, fishing, cruise ships, recreational, traditional, navy, and other types of vessels. 

We used general search engines with general and refined queries using the name of each GeoArea and the following keywords:

  • Fishing boat

  • Ferry, cruise ships, yacht

  • Recreational ships, sailing boat

  • Canoes, traditional boats, artisanal boat

  • Navy Vessel, military boat 

  • Research vessel

  • Transport vessel, cargo

We searched the websites of marine institutions for marine exploration infrastructure and material in their repositories of “activities,” “resources,” “infrastructures,” and similar pages to find the vessels that each institution owns.

We also used marine traffic report databases to search for vessel traffic by country, where we could filter the search by country or vessel type. For Example, vessels marked as “Passenger ship” were recorded under “Recreational vessel” or “Cruise ship.” 

2.2 Deep Submergence Vehicles  

What types of deep submergence vehicles are present in each GeoArea? (Q18R)
We researched the types of DSVs present in each GeoArea, specifically whether the GeoArea had remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), human-occupied vehicles (HOVs), benthic landers, drifters, or towsleds.

We used general search engines with general and refined queries using the name of each GeoArea and the following keywords:

  • Remotely operated vehicle or ROV, ROV expeditions

  • Autonomous vehicles

  • Glider, Glider Data collection

  • Submersibles 

  • Human Occupied Vehicles or HOV, Manned Submersible, Manned submarine

  • Tow sleds (or towsleds), Underwater camera sled 

  • Towed Optical Assessment Device or TOAD, Towed camera sled 

  • Towed Underwater Vehicles or TUVs 

  • Landers, Benthic Remote Underwater Video or BRUVs

  • Bottom-mounted platforms

  • Drifters, Lagrangian drifters

We used the following databases:

We also searched scientific literature using the different search engines listed above for scientific studies that used DSVs (Section 1.1).

2.3 Sensors

What types of deep-sea sensor systems are present in each GeoArea? (Q24R)
We searched for the types of sensor systems present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea has CTDs, O2, pH, and eH sensors, water sampling systems, navigation systems, seafloor mapping systems, and imaging systems. We recorded if the tools were qualified for deep-sea or shallow work for the regions of Asia, the Americas, and Europe. However, we did not fully record shallow versus deep capabilities for Africa and Oceania.

We used general search engines with general and refined queries using the name of each GeoArea and the following keywords:

  • Water sampling, water quality, Niskin bottle

  • Marine data logger, Ocean salinity, Water conductivity  

  • Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth or CTD measurement

  • Marine oxygen sensor

  • Ocean mapping, seafloor mapping

  • Deep ocean imaging, marine imaging system

  • Environmental DNA or eDNA sampling, eDNA metabarcoding, Ocean omics, marine next-generation sequencing or NGS  

  • Hydrogrography

  • Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler or ADCP

  • Hydrodynamics, bathymetry

  • Echosounder, navigation system

We searched the websites of marine institutions for marine exploration infrastructure and material in their repositories of “activities,” “resources,” “infrastructures,” and similar pages to find the sensors that institutions own.

We also searched scientific literature using the different search engines listed in 1.1 for scientific studies that used ocean sensors.

2.4 Data Tools

What kinds of data analysis & access tools are present in each GeoArea? (Q29R)

We researched specific types of data tools present in each GeoArea, including GIS, data management tools, data storage capacity, data visualization tools, machine learning/artificial intelligence (AI/ML), cloud computing, and/or genomic sequencing tools. 

We used online search engines with general and refined queries using the name of each GeoArea and the listed data tools (e.g. GIS, artificial intelligence, or cloud computing) and/or the following keywords:

  • Cloud providers

  • Data training

  • Map analysis

  • Storage medium

  • Media recording

  • Media storage

  • Next generation sequencing

  • DNA facility

3. Additional Information and Classification 

3.1 Codes

We used a code system to provide additional information about the presence or absence of capacities and classify them by their status in the GeoArea. The codes and their meanings are listed below:

  • Codes that represented the absence of capacity for the analysis included:

    • FC - Provided by/based in a foreign country

    • HFC - Human capacity from a foreign country

    • A - Absent

    • PS -Prospected (for example, the deep sea mining exploration phase)

    • CR - Country Restriction (For countries with internet access restrictions and censorship)

    • ICR - Information Restriction

    • ACR - Activity Restriction

  • Codes that represented the presence of capacity for the analysis included:

    • CID - Currently in development

    • FO - Foreign-based organization but where local capacity (local technology and local workers) is developed

    • RO - Research organization

    • CO - Corporate organization 

    • MR - Marine-related (for universities, government agencies, or research labs that do marine work but not specifically related to the deep ocean)

    • GDL - Google drive link (linked to a document that cannot be found online)

  • Languages

    • FR - search in French

    • AR - search in Arabic 

    • SP - search in Spanish

    • PT- search in Portuguese

    • BD - search in Bengali

    • VNM - search in Vietnamese

    • PSN - search in Persian

    • IDN - search in Indonesian

    • GRG - search in Georgian

Examples of Code Use
For example, "ROV [FC]" in a cell specifying ROVs for a GeoArea indicated that the area had assets from a foreign region.

For the "CID" code that described capacities in development, we used the following criteria to distinguish between presence and absence:

  • "Yes [CID]" means the activity or technology is formally established, and there are still ongoing processes in development. (For example, a research vessel is not present, but there are plans to acquire one, or the GeoArea is in the process of getting a new vessel).

  • "No [CID]" means the activity or technology is not formally established, and the GeoArea is in the process of developing the activity or acquiring the technology. In this case, the capacity was not counted as present, but we report the precise GeoAreas and technologies in development for each region.

For the countries that are self-governing but remain overseas territories of another country (2022 Dependencies), we used "yes [FC]" if the self-governing country has capacities but does not have full independence (i.e., they are still attached to their Metropolitan country). If the self-governing country being researched does not have its own capacity, but the politically linked country does have the capacity, we used "No [FC]" (the same as with any other country that provides foreign capacity). If the self-governed country has its own capacity and is independent, we didn't use the code [FC] unless the capacity is being developed and still relies on some capacity overseas, in which case we used "Yes [FC] [CID]."

4. References

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