Environmental Monitoring Technologies for Marine Energy

Animal Interaction

Projects: BioSonics

 

The BioSonics, Inc. project aims to create a discreet, long-range acoustic monitoring system to assess marine life behavior surrounding MRE systems. This acoustic device uses a Perimeter Detector that automatically senses targets (marine life) within a 200m range. The detector provides 360 degrees of coverage from 48 sonar heads that send synchronized signals to detect any organism that enters the detection radius. A secondary sonar, the Directed Classifier, is then automatically aimed at the detected target to track its position in three dimensions and gather higher resolution data on the strength, size, and rate of movement. This classification will provide researchers with information about the target, including its location, depth, behavior, and general type of marine life. In addition to detecting a target from afar, the system can determine whether it is likely to interact with the marine energy device or simply pass by it.

 

In 2017 and 2018, BioSonics, Inc. conducted a series of successful tests in Sequim Bay and the Sequim Bay channel, increasing the system’s scope from 90 degrees to a full 360-degree detection over three testing periods. The system impressed researchers with its ability to recognize a USCG navigation day marker 250m away—50m longer than its original range of detection.  

 

Triton’s contributions:

 

  • Scientific dive team for underwater deployment and as cooperative targets
  • Personnel help to set up and deploy
  • Permitted Sequim Bay site
  • Onshore assistance
  • Electronics lab space
  • An acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP)
  • Data backup storage
Projects: UMSLI

 

Light Detection and Ranging, or LiDAR, is an advanced remote sensing method that uses light in the form of laser pulses. These data are often used to generate precise, three-dimensional  (topographic and bathymetric images to characterize the Earth’s surface or specific features. The Unobtrusive Multi-Static Serial LiDAR Imager (UMSLI) project, started by Florida Atlantic University, is bringing this technology into the water column to improve the detection and classification of marine life.

 

Background

The UMSLI system consists of transmitters that artificially “illuminate” the water surrounding a marine energy device with a series of laser pulses of light that are invisible to marine life but allow receivers to collect time-resolved returns. Just one year after development, the system covers 360 degrees and classifies targets to 10m using red lasers. In year two, the project will incorporate green light, which will increase the system’s detection range underwater.

 

The goal of the UMSLI is to monitor and identify marine life surrounding energy devices. A benchmark performance of the baseline prototype occurred in July 2017 in Sequim Bay. Divers were tasked to “channel their inner turtles and barracudas” and swim with artificial marine life targets to help improve the system’s ability to classify different angles and movements. This information was used to improve the UMSLIs classification system. Later that year, the system monitored targets in multiple locations, including Ediz Hook, the Dungeness Spit, and the Sequim Bay channel. These deployments calibrated the system and allowed comparisons with conventional imagery to inspire further developments.

The project looks forward to another field trial in Spring 2019.

 

Triton’s contributions:

 

  • R/V Strait Science
  • Scientific dive team as cooperative targets
  • Personnel help to deploy/set up
  • Permitted sites in Sequim Bay and around Ediz Hook and the Dungeness Spit
  • Onshore assistance
  • Electronics lab space
  • An acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP)
  • Data backup storage
Project: 3G-AMP

 

Following initial testing of the intelligent Adaptable Monitoring Package (iAMP), researchers at MSL are hosting the third generation Adaptable Monitoring Package (3G-AMP). The latest iteration of the AMP is designed to enhance software and processing and increase the system’s adaptability to a range of marine energy projects.

 

The AMP already has the capability to trigger multiple sensors based on certain stimuli—evidence they truly work as an integrated package. Its specialized hardware allows its sensors to come in proximity to a marine energy converter and monitor many aspects of the system (check out iAMP for more info on how this works). The current effort is taking the technology to the next level with a classifier that will supplement the existing AMP features through sensor fusion, for example combining a fisheries echosounder with target algorithms to better detect and classify fish.

 

Ultimately, the focus of the 3G phase of the project is to target events of greatest importance for retiring environmental risk associated with marine energy systems. When deployed for months at a time, there is an increased opportunity for rare events to be captured by the AMP. Researchers plan to deploy the technology for four months in 2019, and they will use it in a Fish Mesocosm Study, which is also taking place in Sequim Bay.

 

Triton’s contributions:

 

  • Access to the R/V Jack Robertson
  • Boat crew
  • Scientific dive team
  • Personnel help to set up and deploy
  • Permitted Sequim Bay site for long term deployment
  • Onshore assistance
  • Electronics lab space
  • An acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP)
  • Data backup storage
Project: Triton Fish Mesocosm Study

         

 

The fish mesocosm study (FMS) is a collaboration between the University of Washington (UW), University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Maine, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The purpose of the study is to quantify fish interactions with tidal turbines and observe their behavior around these devices. Researchers will use a UW-developed 3G Adaptable Monitoring Package (AMP) that is equipped with sonar, acoustic cameras, hydrophones, and a classification system to record interactions of tagged fish with a real tidal turbine system in Sequim Bay. Researchers anticipate that results from the study will verify that there is a low probability of fish interaction with turbines, and the data will allow them to establish avoidance rates for fish encounter models.

 

Background

The FMS began in September 2018 and has involved raising sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) and preparing them for acoustic tagging and controlled release. A system for releasing the fish at specific depths and locations is currently being developed.

 

In phase I, PNNL researchers will tag 100 fish with JSATS fish tags and release them near a 3G-AMP deployed in Sequim Bay. The advanced PNNL JSATS tagging technology creates fine spatial and temporal resolution fish tracks after release. Combining these tags with the AMP’s multi-sensor technology will allow for detailed observation of the avoidance and evasion behavior of fish. This first phase of the FMS functions to validate this methodology. If the methods prove to be sound, the experiment will be repeated on a larger scale in the presence of turbines, which will allow fish behavior around an MRE device to be observed and quantified for the first time. The 3G-AMP is expected to be deployed in 2019, with tagged fish releases shortly after.

 

Triton’s contributions:

 

  • Wet lab space to hold and care for fish
  • IACUC certified staff and facilities
  • Scientific dive team for AMP deployment
  • R/V Desdemona
  • Boat crew
  • Personnel to deploy and set up systems
  • Technical expertise for tagging development
  • Permitted Sequim Bay site
  • Onshore assistance
  • An acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP)
  • Data backup storage