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Tech Files


Novel Applications for Real-Time Hydrophones

By Rose Fisher, Ocean Sonics

The icListen Smart Hydrophone has been used around the world for many ap- plications, spanning from the traditional to the novel. The differentiator of the icListen is it’s real time processing ca- pability, allowing users to actively listen and make decisions while the sensor is deployed. Discussed in this article will be novel applications for marine industrial noise monitoring, and for marine mam- mal study and conservation.

Noise mitigation is becoming an essen- tial task for any organization or company working in our oceans and waterways.

Those who work in marine construction,

Photo: Courtesy of Patagonia Project/Inset: Ocean Sonics dredging and resource exploration know all too well the responsibility that comes

Hydrophone deployment. Inset: Launchbox laptop & hydrophone. with regulatory compliance.

Below: Patagonia Project group shot.

Noise monitoring and mitigation laws

Real-time listening systems are are becoming commonplace around the not only for marine industrial ap- world, yet the tools and methods that plications, they are also changing enable regulatory compliance are often the way researchers and marine lacking and diffcult to use. Traditional mammal observers are operat- systems put the onus on the users, requir- ing. One such group, Patagonia ing the operators to monitor 24/7 and

Projects, located in the Patagonia perform diffcult calculations to prove region of Chile, has been using compliance. Most of these systems are a real-time listening system to unable to provide processed data in real- improve their research efforts. time, so if the mandated thresholds of

Acoustic specialists have paired sound exposure or sound pressure level the icListen real-time audio with (SEL,SPL) are exceeded, it is often not video footage from drones to discovered until a report is compiled and improve the quality of their col- calculations performed. Determining this lected data. Researchers onboard after that fact is not helpful to the environ- the Patagonia Projects vessel, ment that these controls are put in place to

Saoirse, deploy the icListen protect, and as regulations become more MPA in the region. They are using these along with a WiFi capable Launch Box, stringent, it can mean legal trouble or integrated and novel data collection ap- from a small foating platform. When fnes for noise infractions. proaches to bolster their case and gain the marine mammals are detected, a video

The solution is to use a real-time ocean support of local government.

drone is fown from the vessel to the listening system that provides processed Sophisticated tools are changing the way platform where researchers are able to data. When real-time data is available, we think about ocean sound data. Real- capture synchronized video and audio decisions can be made based on what time data delivery and in-situ processing streams. The researchers on board are is happening in that moment. If noise are making decision making easier and able to communicate to their hydrophone thresholds are being exceeded, it is clear improving the way we work and study in using a simple web interface so they can to the operators. Compliance is simpli- our oceans. Tools, like the icListen Smart confgure the hydrophone in-situ without fed when issues are discovered when Hydrophone, are game changers for ap- having to retrieve or redeploy the tool and they occur. Using a real-time system can plications that rely on or are improved by risk disturbing their study subjects. help industry operators avoid compliance real-time, accessible data. Delayed data

Through these efforts, the Patagonia infractions while protecting the marine is a thing of the past, get ready to Listen

Project team is looking to establish an environment. Now.

Marine Technology Reporter 55

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