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Real-time Acoustic Observing System (RAOS) for Marine Animals

Cost-effective acoustic real-time observing system for marine animals

The objective of this project is to develop a cost-effective acoustic real-time observing system for marine animals.

Project description:

The system will consist of a bottom moored passive-acoustic recorder/detector unit and a separate surface buoy mooring featuring satellite communication. Communication between the two units will be established with an underwater acoustic modem link. One surface buoy can service multiple recorder/detector units which will allow scientists to easily set-up arrays to track marine animals. Furthermore the separation between surface buoy and recorder/detector unit will ensure clean acoustic recordings without mooring noise and also allows users to maintain the components separately.

Within the RAOS project we will focus on the real-time detection of endangered southern resident killer whales off Washington and Oregon. However, the system will allow users to implement various detection algorithms for marine mammal and fish calls as well as signals emitted by active acoustic fish tags. The acoustic recorder/detector unit is continuously screening the underwater soundscape for target signals. Once a signal is detected, the corresponding sound file is stored on disk and a message is send to the surface buoy and from there to a station onshore. Scientist will have access to the data via a secure Internet portal hosted by NOAA/PMEL. Real-time information on the presence of marine animals is becoming increasingly important. It is, for example, needed to mitigate potential harm of marine animals during anthropogenic activities and to increase the efficiency of tagging and sampling efforts. Furthermore, the real-time data access allows operators to identify malfunction of the instrument in a timely manner and thus can help to significantly reduce data loss.


Project members: 
Principle Investigator

Funding Source

CO-PIs: Brad Hanson (NOAA/NWFSC), Haru Matsumoto (OSU & NOAA/PMEL)
Partners: Chris Meinig (NOAA/PMEL)