Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) Research

ROVs have proven extremely valuable within industry sectors and academic fields due to a number of distinct advantages, inter alia, rapid and reliable collection of large volumes of data. Despite some disadvantages of re-purposing industry-collected ROV footage for scientific purposes – discussed in detail in our co-authored paper here (McLean et al., 2020) – OSC scientists are experts at deriving meaningful results from pre-collected industry data. This enhances client environmental credentials and future permit-applications, at a fraction of the cost. Between 2018–2020, ROV-based papers led by Dr Victoria Todd have included (i) an assessment for rig-to-reefs of an established North Sea Oil & Gas (O&G) installation complex, (ii) a new offshore hydrocarbon production platform and pipeline in the North Sea, before and after installation, and (iii) the first study to visually confirm seals following pipelines. These publications are the first in the world to (i) demonstrate reproduction on offshore platforms, (ii) characterise the first wave of colonisation on brand-new structures, and (iii) use ROV imagery to demonstrate presence of marine megafauna (whales, sharks, etc.) around structures. See our publications page for downloadable papers on a range of topics.


We specialise in analysis of ROV imagery and taxonomic identification in all oceans. Our team are international marine scientists with experience in all oceans and seas. We also analyse data as part of routine Net Environmental Benefit Analysis Comparative Assessments (NEBA-CA) for decommissioning purposes.

Hundreds of O&G installations are scheduled to be decommissioned in the next decade (OGUK, 2019); therefore, there is a profound need for improved scientific understanding of marine biota associated with offshore infrastructure in order to inform the ‘rigs-to-reefs’ debate.

If you would like to discuss how OSC can analyse your data or assist in your NEBA-CA, please contact us at


McLean, D., Gates, A., Benfield, M., Bond, T., Booth, D., Bunce, M., Fowler, A., et al. 2020. Enhancing the scientific value of industry remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) in our oceans. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7: 220.

OGUK. 2019. Decommissioning Insight 2019.

Todd, V. L. G. 2013. Rigs – to decommission or not to decommission? Marine Scientist, 43: 22-25.

Todd, V. L. G., Lavallin, E. W., and Macreadie, P. I. 2018. Quantitative analysis of fish and invertebrate assemblage dynamics in association with a North Sea oil and gas installation complex. Marine Environmental Research, 142: 69-79.

Todd, V. L. G., Lazar, L., Williamson, L. D., Peters, I., Cox, S. E., Todd, I. B., Macreadie, P. I., et al. 2020a. Underwater visual records of marine megafauna around offshore anthropogenic structures. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7: 230.

Todd, V. L. G., Williamson, L. D., Cox, S. E., Todd, I. B., and Macreadie, P. I. 2020b. Characterising the first wave of fish and invertebrate colonisation on a new offshore petroleum platform. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 77: 1127-1136.

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