Development of a Wideband Acoustic Recording Tag to Assess the Acoustic Behavior of Marine Wildlife
Final technical rept.
GREENERIDGE SCIENCES INC SANTA BARBARA CA
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Instrumentation capable of monitoring free-ranging marine animals is an essential foundation for research on sound and marine wildlife. Acoustic recording tags, in particular, offer the capability to record a subjects acoustic exposure as well as its vocalizations and kinematics, providing a complete picture of a wild animals acoustically-related behavior. In 2006, the Office of Naval Research ONR initiated support to Greeneridge Sciences to expand the capability of the first and only commercially-available broadband acoustic recording tag, the Bioacoustic Probe, to record high-frequency echolocation vocalizations of beaked whales and other odontocete species. The resulting effort increased the designs maximum sampling rate from 20 kHz to 232 kHz and its maximum storage capacity from 1 GB to 8 GB 64 GB if battery limitations are neglected. USB flash-drive technology replaced infrared transfers for data offloading, speeding offload by a factor of 60 from 17 MBhour to 1 GBhour. Other improvements included 3D tilt and 3D compass to support more detailed study of kinematic behavior. The new wideband recorder was announced for commercial sale in January 2009 as the Acousondetrademark 3A. Finally, a thorough redesign of the Bioacoustic Probes shape prepared the way for a future cetacean tag that integrates attachment, flotation, and retrieval systems in a single hydrodynamic package. Tests of a mechanical sample of this integrated tag indicated the need to further reduce its size. The integrated tag, to be called the Acousondetrademark 3B, is being revised for planned release in 2010.