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University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratory Collaborative Efforts:
Developing a Marine Acoustic Tag Tracking System

  
Hosts: Cornell University, NASA Ames Research Center, Friday Harbor Labs University of Washington, HTI
Location: Cantilever Point, Friday Harbor Laboratories, San Juan Island, WA USA


See Project Pics - Watch Videos - GoPro with the Divers See Project Pics Watch Research Videos GoPro with the Divers
Copper Rockfish next to sea star. Image: G.AmptmanCopper Rockfish next to sea star. Image: G.Amptman

Objectives:

In October 2014, a new acoustic telemetry study kicked off to track the high-resolution, three dimensional movement of copper rockfish off Cantilever Point at Friday Harbor Laboratories (FHL). The aim of this study is to evaluate HTI’s new marine telemetry system in high-resolution investigations of behavioral responses of copper rockfish to the features of their environment.

Until now, existing marine telemetry systems have been limited by positional errors on the scale of ten meters (~33 ft), and the number of tagged fish or “targets” that could be tracked in one place at one time was limited to 12 fish. The newly installed HTI system is designed to reduce positional error to less than a meter (~3 ft), increase the number of individual tags that can be tracked in one location at one time to 500 fish, and provide an expansive range up to 1 km (~3,280 ft).

The team, made up of scientists from the Ocean Resources & Ecosystems Program at Cornell University, Earth Sciences at NASA Ames Research Center and HTI, set out to field test the new system with copper rockfish. In this first stage of the study, rockfish were captured by research divers and placed into cages resting on the seafloor, which were slowly raised to the surface. The rockfish were brought onboard a research vessel, anesthetized, and acoustically tagged. After implanting the tag, rockfish recuperated in a tank of seawater, then lowered to the seafloor for full recovery, and later released back into their habitat by the divers. Four hydrophones, deployed by small boat and the R/V Centennial, are used to detect the signals from the tagged rockfish, which will be tracked for approximately one year.


Potential Results:

Ecological questions addressed by this study include analyzing site fidelity, home ranges, microhabitat selection, and seasonal movement patterns. Plans are underway to tag rockfish predators and examine behavior associated with predator-prey interactions.

HTI is pleased to work with Dr. McGarry, Dr. Brosnan, Dr. Greene, and the team at Friday Harbor Labs. To learn more about the equipment development or methods used, contact Colleen or Sam at (206) 633-3383 or email them at support@HTIsonar.com.


 

Preparing to deploy marine hydrophones to listen for tagged rockfish. Image: L.McGarry
Preparing to deploy marine hydrophones to listen for tagged rockfish. Image: L.McGarry
Diver checking new marine hydrophone mount. Image: J.Nordstrom
Diver checking new marine hydrophone mount. Image: J.Nordstrom
Example of tag being moved around to test new marine tag positioning system. Image: S.Johnston
Example of tag being moved around to test new marine tag positioning system. Image: S.Johnston
Deploying a hydrophone mount from the R/V Centennial. Image: C.Greene.
Deploying a hydrophone mount from the R/V Centennial. Image: C.Greene.
This type of technology has tremendous potential for enhancing the study of fish ecology, including the design of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). - Dr. Louise McGarry
Cornell University Earth and Atmospheric Sciences - Dr. Louise McGarry
 
 
 
 

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