SOUTHAMPTON University has received funding for marine sensors to help probe the mysteries of the deep.

Researchers have been given a share of more than £4m to develop sensors capable of working in extreme conditions.

Two projects at the university, and a further two with its involvement at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton, are among five awarded £4.3m by the Natural Environment Research Council.

The sensors that will result from the projects, designed to be compatible with underwater systems such as the NOC’s Boaty McBoatface, will be able to perform a variety of functions at sea, helping researchers to answer questions about our changing oceans.

The Southampton projects are a 3D visual mapping system to obtain colour images and measurements of the sea bed, led by Dr Blair Thornton, and a sensor capable of measuring how phytoplankton – vital marine micro-organisms – process food, led by Prof Mark Moore.

Dr Thornton said: “BioCam will allow vast regions of the sea floor to be visually mapped to generate high-resolution 3D reconstructions that can be seamlessly visualised and explored. The technology will not only improve the efficiency with which the features of seafloor ecosystems can be recognised, but will also yield insights into features that cannot otherwise be observed.”