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Development and experimentation of a satellite buoy network for real-time acoustic localization of whales in the St. Lawrence

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9 Author(s)
Y. Simard ; Institut des Sciences de la Mer, Université du Quebec à Rimouski, 310 Allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, Québec G5L 3A1, Canada; Marine Mammal Section, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maurice Lamontagne Institute, P.O. Box 1000, Mont-Joli, Québec G5H 3Z4, Canada ; M. Bahoura ; C. W. Park ; J. Rouat
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An integrated system of intelligent acoustic buoys have been developed to detect, identify and localize whales in real-time in their environment and communicate this information to land-based stations or ships via satellite and Internet, and RF communications. The low-cost portable buoy network can be used as a marine mammal observatory to gather continuous space-time series of vocalizing animals over large basins, or as early warning systems for improving whale protection on navigation routes or around moving or fixed platforms during threatening high-level acoustic activity. The unit buoy is powered by two 12-V batteries connected to solar panels. The processor is an 800 MHz Pentium III PC equipped with 400-MB fast memory and a 100-GB hard disk. The clock is synchronized with the embarked GPS. Data from two georeferenced hydrophones equipped with depth and temperature sensors are flowing to a 16-bit 500-kHz A/D-DSP board. Two-way communication is through 900-MHz and an Iridium satellite modems. Specific whales target calls are detected in time-frequency domain after adaptive noise-filtration. The selected master buoy collects the precisely time-tagged detections from all units via RF communication, and locates the calling whales from hyperbolic and isodiachron-Monte Carlo fixing algorithms. A simple tracking algorithm then builds the individual tracks. All acoustic data or users' selected portions of them can be stored on the hard disk. The system is designed to accommodate future developments and be easily adapted to various tasks. It can be deployed as a drifting network or anchored to the bottom, as well as from the ice sheet. First sea trials will be in August 2006 in the St. Lawrence

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18-21 Sept. 2006