Deep Mapping of Teuthivorous Whales and Their Prey Fields
Technical Report,25 Mar 2011,28 Feb 2016
OREGON STATE UNIV CORVALLIS CORVALLIS United States
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Acoustic echo sounders designed to map and discriminate organisms in the water column have primarily been deployed on ships. Because of acoustic attenuation of higher frequencies used to detect and discriminate micronekton and nekton, this has effectively restricted the range of this information to the upper water column. In an effort to overcome these range limitations by reducing the distance between the transducer and the targets of interest, dual-frequency 38 and 120 kHz split-beam echo sounders were integrated into a REMUS 600 autonomous underwater vehicle AUV, more than doubling the range of quantitative acoustic data into the mesopelagic zone 600-1200m. Data from the first set of deployments aimed at describing the predator-prey interactions between deep-diving cetaceans and their prey provide important information for mitigating human interactions with these sensitive species. We show that careful integration of a suite of traditional and novel tools is providing insight into the ecology and dynamics of predator and prey in the bathy- and meso-pelagic.
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