Moss Landing, California - Researchers have begun work on an undersea observatory in California's Monterey Bay which, when completed, will monitor deep-sea conditions and wildlife 24 hours a day, officials said.

A ship began laying a 52km cable about 914m underwater to power research instruments and relay data to land.

"This is new for ocean science, and with the Internet we will be able to link ocean researchers all over the world with observations while the instruments are making them," said Stephen Etchemendy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

The $12-million (about R90-million) Monterey Accelerated Research System, or Mars, will include an underwater seismograph that will send earthquake signals directly to a lab at the University of California, Berkeley.

Other instruments will include a camera called "Eye in the Sea," designed to photograph sea creatures that generate their own light through bioluminescence, and an underwater rover to study microscopic animals living on the sea floor. - Sapa-AP