We recently developed a modular system of affordable autonomous recorders called SonarPoint. This system consists of an
array of 3-5 recorders that are precisely time-synchronized to allow localization and tracking of marine mammals and
other sound sources. This system is a major upgrade to the microMARS recorders that were developed in 2015 with limited
resources and funding from NOAA. This ONR sponsored R&D project was recently completed in 2017 with good field test
results. We have just been issued another award by ONR to further field test and validate this system in Monterey Bay,
The image below illustrates how the system was used to track killer whales off the coast of San Juan Island in the
summer of 2017.
There are several deployment configurations available for SonarPoint. The first is an ocean drifting system that relies on GPS and local RF modem (for short ranges) or an ARGOS transmitter (for long range/duration deployments) and solar panels for power. All of these components are integrated in an electronics package housed in a waterproof package that sits on top of a small buoy (see image below). This unit is attached via an electronics cable to the recorder located a depth of several tens to a few hundred meters below the surface buoy. This system can be deployed as independent global drifters, as an array of drifters (for short term monitoring and tracking). A second configuration is the same setup, which is tethered to a mooring on the seafloor in relatively shallow (< 100m) water. The third deployment configuration consists of an array of fully submerged seafloor recorders that are time synchronized using a precision, temperature-compensated pinger. This system is deployed with small acoustically-triggered release devices (see ARC-1 below) that are coupled each recorder so that they can be retrieved on command. These three basic deployment configurations will allow an infinite number of spatial configurations of the array to allow the user as much flexibility as possible. This system has been field tested with marine mammals in the San Juan Islands and Monterey Bay. Contact Desert Star Systems for pricing or Bio-Waves Inc for more information about this new system.