What is seabed sampling?

Seabed sampling involves extracting cores from sediments on the seafloor. These core samples assist researchers in understanding how the earth and its underwater creatures evolved over time. Deep sea core samples can also assist commercial and industrial operations.

There are various methods of obtaining core samples, including vibrocoring, grab sampling and more. iXblue offers a range of seabed sampling and coring services. Read on to learn more.

Our seabed sampling services

We use various sampling techniques including vibro-coring, drop core, box coring, grab sampling and diver inspection to obtain physical seabed samples in water depths ranging from the very shallow to several hundred metres.


Vibrocoring is one of the most popular methods of obtaining core samples from the ocean’s floor, specifically from the sub-strata sediments. It works like this: a vibrating mechanism is attached to a metal core. This is then driven into the sediment using both vibration energy and the force of gravity.

Vibrocoring is an ideal collection technique in unconsolidated, waterlogged sediment environments and soils. In dry soils, such as clay and compacted sand, vibrocoring is not as effective.

iXblue has teamed up with SEAS Offshore for a efficient and reliable vibro coring solution. The SEAS vibro coring solution is smaller, lighter and more efficient than any other on the market and this allows us to provide our clients with a very cost effective solution.

The SEAS system has the option of utilising an aluminium core barrel, or a stainless steel core barrel with polycarbonate liner for contaminant sampling and testing. The SEAS VC system can sample between 1 and 6m in depth – subject to the hardness of the seabed. The system can be operated in very shallow water and to depths exceeding 2,000m. The system can be fitted with subsea cameras and highly accurate ultra-short baseline (USBL) acoustic positioning system.

Box Coring

The Box Corer we use can collect a 50cm x 50cm x 50cm sediment sample in a stainless steel box.

Grab Sampling

Grab sampling, sometimes referred to as surface grabbing, is a suitable sampling technique for research activities concerned with the seabed itself, such as benthic analysis. There are various methods of grab sampling, including day grabs.

We own several different type of grab samplers including the Smith-McIntyre, Van Veen and Shipek Grab systems. These are generally used in water depths less than 100m and can be deployed from small vessels.

Diver Inspection

When it comes to providing ground truth of protected survey areas or to monitor the growth of seabed flora, we use divers. Divers are the only solution when non-invasive solutions are required to study and measure certain areas of seabed.   Detailed diver surveys are often employed after a large area sensor survey (such as a side scan sonar survey) has been completed. The SSS survey may identify particular areas of interest which can then be more closely examined with diver inspection or drop camera.

Drop Camera

We have several small, lightweight drop cameras which can be used at various depths and feature a colour video camera.


Contact our experienced team today

Do you need assistance securing core samples? Would you like to learn more about our sampling services?

With years of industry experience, we can help you secure the samples you need safely and quickly. Let us know your requirements, and we’ll provide you with a quote and schedule of works and ensure that we deliver what  you need within your time frame and budget.

Taking seabed samples

Sampling in Gladstone Harbour, Qld

sea bed corer

1.5m core, 6" diameter, 400m depth, NZ

Seabed corer

3m Corer on board the Nautilus, Kazakhstan


Launch and Recovery System (LARS)

Piston Corer

Deploying Piston Corer RV Investigator

Core sample storage

Core samples stored and on the way