Development of a Tetrahedral “X-Array” Prototype for Marine Mammal Localization

Goal: To develop a prototype tetrahedral array for towed array surveys of deep-diving species of cetaceans.

Time Period: Fall 2015- Spring 2016

Our Role: With our partners, UCSD/Scripps Institute of Oceanography’s Marine Physical Laboratory (SIO/MPL), Bio-Waves, Inc. is responsible for developing and testing a prototype tetrahedral array that will include a variety of hydrophones and sensors.


Synopsis: Bio-Waves, Inc. and UCSD/SIO’s Marine Physical Laboratory (under the direction of Dr. Gerald D’Spain) were awarded a Small Business Innovation Research contract from the NOAA-SBIR program to develop a prototype system that will significantly improve passive acoustic localization capabilities of deep-diving species. These species can be difficult to localize and track using more traditional linear towed hydrophone arrays, which introduces the need for new and novel approaches to data collection. The current prototype is based on an earlier design from researchers Jay Barlow and Shannon Rankin at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), which SIO/MPL researchers fabricated. The prototype tetrahedral array, or X-array, contains hydrophones and a variety of sensors, including accelerometers and pressure sensors that can provide more information for localization and movement tracking.

Bio-Waves is working with SIO/MPL researchers to conduct simulations and other tests to resolve some of the issues with the current model, such as the twisting of the array, and the flow-noise that can result when towing at a relatively high speed (~10 kts), which is necessary when conducting line-transect surveys. The prototype will be completed by winter 2016, and field-testing will be conducted in winter/spring 2016. If successful, we hope to be awarded a follow-on (Phase II) award from NOAA-SBIR to commercialize the X-array.

Collaborators/Partners: UCSD/Scripps Institute of Oceanography’s Marine Physical Laboratory

Sponsors: NOAA Small Business Innovation Research Program (NOAA-SBIR)

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