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ParCa Pro is a vertically profiling, still image camera system that was developed in order to acquire abundance and size of marine particles. It was designed in consideration of systems used by e.g. Honjo et al. (1984).

The system consists of a modified PHOTOSEA 70 middle format camera, that is equipped with a KODAK DCS PRO-Back with an image resolution of 16 Megapixel. A DSPL 1500 strobe, mounted perpendicular to the camera, provides a collimated light beam of 12cm width, illuminating a sample volume of 11l for statistical analysis of the images. Power supply is provided by a 24V/38h rechargeable DSPL battery. Communication with the ship is provided by a microcontroller and adapted software. A telemetry unit allows full control over the system via the ships coaxial wire. The camera is triggered by the pressure sensor of a SBE 19 CTD probe in 10m intervals. The system can be deployed down to 4000m waterdepth.

All components are mounted into a galvanised steel-frame (200x50x120cm) and total weight of the system is ~200kg.

Honjo, S., Doherty, K.W., Agrawal, Y.C., and Asper, V.L., 1984, Direct optical assessment of large amorphous aggregates (marine snow) in the deep ocean: deep Sea Research i, v. 31, p. 67-76.

System components

Control Stand1 x 19" Flightcase with PC and SBE 36 Telemetry
16 MegaPixel (4000x4000)
400 images per deployment possible
StrobePhotoSea 1500SD
TelemetrySeaBird SBE36 Deckunit with PDIM (downside)
CTDSeaCat SBE 19
Transmissiometer, O2-Sensor, Fluorometer
Power supply24V/38Ah DeepSea Power & Light
Image analysis softwareMatLab, ImageJ, Image Pro+


Iversen, M.H., Nowald, N., Ploug, H., Jackson, G.A. and G. Fischer (2010), High resolution profiles of vertical particulate organic matter export off Cape Blanc, Mauritania:Degradation processes and ballasting effects, Deep-Sea Research I, 57, 771-784, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2010.03.007

G. Karakaş, N. Nowald, C. Schäfer-Neth, M. Iversen, W. Barkmann, G. Fischer, P. Marchesiello and R. Schlitzer (2009), Impact of particle aggregation on vertical fluxes of organic matter, Progress in Oceanography, 83, 331-341, doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2009.07.047

Fischer, G., Karakas, G., Blaas, M., Ratmeyer, V., Nowald, N., Schlitzer, R., Helmke, P., Davenport, R., Donner, B., Neuer, S., Wefer, G. (2007) Mineral ballast and particle settling rates in the coastal upwelling system off NW Africa and the South Atlantic, Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) (2009) 98:281-298, DOI 10.1007/S00531-007-0234-7

Karakas, G., Nowald, N., Blaas, M., Marchesiello, M., Frickenhaus, S. and R. Schlitzer (2006) High resolution modelling of sediment erosion and particle transport across the NW African shelf. Journal of Geophysical Research, 111, C06025, doi:10.1029/2005JC003296, 2006.

N. Nowald, G. Karakas, V. Ratmeyer, G. Fischer, R. Schlitzer, R. A. Davenport, G. Wefer (2006), Distribution and transport processes of marine particulate matter off Cape Blanc (NW-Africa): results from vertical camera profiles, Ocean Science Discussions, Vol. 3, pp 903-938, 25-7-2006

Ratmeyer, V., and Wefer, G., 1996, A high resolution camera system (ParCa) for imaging particles in the ocean: System design and results from profiles and a three-month deployment: Journal of Marine Research, v. 54, p. 589-603.


Dr. Nicolas Nowald


+49 421 218-65612


+49 421 218-65605



MARUM I, 1510