Early research undertaken with the Memorial Explorer AUV addressed three distinct themes: vehicular hydrodynamics and dynamic response, water plume modelling, and sewage outfall sampling.
In 2007, MERLIN was engaged by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to integrate a Biosonics Dt-X Scientific Digital Echosounder with the Memorial Explorer for fisheries acoustic seabed classification.
In 2008, the Explorer was deployed from the CCGS Shamook for a series of preliminary missions designed to study the Explorers suitability for deployments beneath sea ice.
Following the preliminary sea ice missions in 2008, MERLIN was subcontracted by International Submarine Engineering (ISE) Ltd to deploy the Explorer in the Canadian High Arctic as part of Canada's effort to extend its exclusive economic zone under United Nations Convention Law of the Sea, Article 76.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between Memorial University and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative Research Centre (ACE-CRC) to involve Memorial University in sea ice studies in the Australian Antarctic being led by ACE-CRC and supported by the Australian Antarctic Division. In June of 2009, a partnership was formed between the Australian Maritime College - University of Tasmania, L'Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (Ifremer) and Memorial to determine the acoustical, logistical and operational challenges to deploy the Memorial Explorer under the ice for an upward looking sonar survey of sea ice to validate aerial and satellite sea ice survey methods.
At the end of January 2010, MERLIN was funded to undertake the Responsive AUV Localization and Mapping (REALM) Project via the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Atlantic Innovation Fund. The $6.25 million dollar project entails the development of new technologies in the area of advanced AUV navigation and performance; AUV support technologies; a novel subbottom imaging seabed survey capability; and development of the Memorial Explorer AUV into a platform capable of deepwater seabed survey. The multiphase project is focused on fostering commercial partnerships with local and national companies and to develop intellectual property internally by building new collaborations internal to the University.