Acoustic telemetry study to track rockfish movements

By on February 11, 2015

Copper rockfish (Credit: Ratha Grimes/CC BY 2.0)


According to a recent post from the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs, the fine-scale, three dimensional movements of individual copper rockfish have been tracked using acoustic telemetry. The system was developed through a collaboration with Cornell University and Hydroacoustic Technology Incorporated.

In the Friday Harbor Lab acoustic telemetry study, individual fish were selected and acoustic tags were surgically implanted in their body cavities. The tags emitted sounds or “pings” at known intervals which were received by hydrophones on the seafloor. Provided the exact location of the hydrophones were known and the time at which the sounds were received was known, the movements of the fish could be accurately estimated.

It is expected that the location of the fish will be accurate to a meter or less, unlike previous studies which had a ten meter margin of error. In addition, previous studies were limited to 12 tags and under, whereas this study could include up to 500 tags. The acoustic tags can function for up to one year.

A related study is also planned which will create a photomosaic map of the seafloor using an autonomous underwater vehicle.

Top image: Copper rockfish (Credit: Ratha Grimes/CC BY 2.0)

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