The University of Georgia is preparing to deploy its first robotic submersible.
Marine scientists will use the torpedo-shaped device to learn more about the Gulf Stream.
The submersible is called the Salty Dawg.
It will work along with a North Carolina State University submersible next year to record the workings of warm eddies in the Gulf Stream.
UGA oceanographer Renato Castelao says the mighty Atlantic current spins off the eddies into shallower waters near the shore.
"For example, in your garden, you put nutrients, or fertilizers, in order for plants to grow," Castelao says. "So, the same thing happens in the ocean. We think about these eddies as a way to put nutrients into shallower layers."
Castelao says the NASA-funded robot is more efficient than a ship.
"As they are in the ocean collecting data, we can still be on campus and interact with students and teach classes," Castelao says.
Castelao says the research might help scientists better understand fish behavior, water flow and climate change.
The university's submersible will be unmanned and controlled by satellite from Athens.