Your eye into the dark depths of the ocean
Ostracam is an underwater stereo imaging instrument that will be used by UCSB's Marine Biology Department. Using two ultra-low-light cameras mounted in waterproof casing, OstraCam is built to be deployed on the ocean floor in the pitch darkness with the objective of observing small bioluminescent signals. The targets of these observations are Ostracod, crustaceans about the size of a grain of rice, which emit flares of bioluminescent material when under threat, or when trying to attract a mate. OstraCam's job is to not only record these flares, but map their exact magnitude and direction, which are distinctly different for every subspecies of Ostracod. In addition to this, OstraCam will measure the pressure, temperature, pH, salinity, and location where these flares are measured. Using this data, the Marine Biology Department intends to correlate the flare's properties to the genetic differences between Ostracod subspecies to further our knowledge of genetics, and to find applications for bioluminescent materials in genetic engineering.