Dr. Vernon Asper


Dr. Asper's research focuses on investigations of particle dynamics, including their formation, settling characteristics, decomposition, remineralization, and eventual fate, and uses a suite of imaging technologies and computerized sensors, many of which have been designed and fabricated at USM. Examples include the MAGENUM (Marine AGgregate ENUMerator) which investigates the abundance of larger aggregates throughout the water column, the MASCOT (Marine Aggregate Setting Collector and Observation Tube) which investigates the flux and sinking speed of aggregates using a moored sediment trap/camera combination, and a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). The ROV has been equipped with a digital still camera, acoustic navigation system, altimeter, and a novel 3-dimensional, laser-scanned imaging system.  His CV can be found here: https://www.usm.edu/sites/default/files/asper_gomri_cv_11-08-2016.doc


The Objectives of this study are to continue and improve a time series of chemical-biological measurements that have been initiated in the Ross Sea to determine if interannual variations in seasonal production occur, and if they do, what their magnitudes are. Once the magnitude of these variations is established, we will try to relate such variations to ice distribution and patterns of ice retreat.

This project is developing a remote underwater observatory, which will allow scientists to make internet-based virtual visits to the sub-ice ocean environment off Palmer Station. The observatory will consist of an instrument package on the seafloor ~2-3 km from Palmer Station in 50 to 100m of water. The package will be connected by electro-optical cable to shore providing the capability for internet-based tele-operation by scientists, educators, and students from any where in the world. The observatory will consist of a vertical profiler with CTD, Video Plankton Recorder, hydrophone, current meter, sensors for chlorophyll and CDOM fluorescence, oxygen, nitrate, a bio-optical package, andan under ice video observation surveillance system. The profiler will rise to the surface multiple times per day from a seafloor-mounted platform consisting of a winch, ADCP and a remote video camera.

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, MISSISSIPPI (Undersea Vehicles Technology Center):
The National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology (NIUST) was established in 2002 in partnership with NOAA's Undersea Research Program (NURP) to develop and apply new technologies that enhance undersea research. NIUST is made up of three divisions: the Ocean Biotechnology Center & Repository (OBCR), the Seabed Technology Research Center (STRC), and the Undersea Vehicles Technology Center (UVTC) which broadly encompass the fields of biotechnology, and engineered technologies in the marine environment. NIUST is providing cutting edge technologies to NURP and their constituencies to further the nation's research capabilities in nearshore, deep water, and extreme marine environments. The Center operates an AUV from International Submarine Engineering (ISE) LTD. The 2200m AUV carries a Kongsberg EM2000 multibeam echosounder and other equipment and sensors as needed.



  • Introduction to Ocean Science (MAR 151)
    Survey of the physical, chemical, geological and biological features of the ocean.
  • Geological Oceanography (MAR 581)
    Study of the formation and deformation of the oceanic crust and the distribution and character of marine sediments.
  • Seminar in Marine Science (MAR 689)
    Current topics in marine science explored via student discussion and presentation.
  • Marine Geology for Hydrographers (Hyd 602)
    Fundamental information on marine geological processes oriented towards application by hydrographers.


Selected Publications

W. M. Graham, , D. L. Martin, D. L. Felder, V. L. Asper, and H. M. Perry, 2003. Ecological and economic implications of a tropical jellyfish invader in the Gulf of Mexico. Biological Invasions 5: 53.69.

C. H. Pilskaln, S. J. Manganini, T. W. Trull, L. Armand, W. Howard, V. L. Asper and R. Massom 2004. "Geochemical particle fluxes in the Southern Indian Ocean seasonal ice zone: Prydz Bay region, East Antarctica" Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, Volume 51, Issue 2, February 2004, Pages 307-332.