Friday, April 19, 2013

Moorings deployed

One of our large (~200 pound) long-term moorings (Photo:M. Kaplan) 
Today marked the final day of fieldwork. The morning was spent rebuilding a few of our acoustic recorders, which were not doing exactly what we wanted, but we were still able to get out and complete 3 dives this afternoon. We deployed four longterm moorings in addition to two that were deployed a couple days ago, with a total of 18 instruments measuring the soundscape, temperature, salinity and ambient light intensity. These instruments are distributed across the 6 moorings at 3 distinct sites. Late today we also retrieved some short-term acoustic recorders that were deployed at our last site.

Retrieval of our short-term recorders (Photo: A. Mooney)
In total we've collected nearly 300 hours of acoustic recordings over the past 10 days. We poured around 600 pounds of concrete to make our long-term moorings, and the plan is for those instruments to record intermittently for approximately 4 months; we will retrieve these recorders in August. These data will help us characterize differences in the soundscape between sites over a long temporal scale and may allow us to correlate variability in sound production with variability in environmental conditions.

Between Aran and Max, 40 dives were completed over the last 10 days, comprising around 1600 minutes underwater. In addition to instrument deployment, we conducted a number of visual surveys so that we can characterize what is living at our three sites.

This research project is off to a successful start - for that we owe thanks to a number of collaborators, whose work was truly instrumental in allowing us to achieve all that we have here in St John. Our engineers - Dan Bogorff, Steve Faluotico, and, in particular, Jim Partan, whose tireless work in the weeks leading up to the project allowed us to deploy all of the instruments we wanted. We also thank David Mann for quickly sending us some replacement circuit boards for malfunctioning instruments, and all of the volunteers at the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Center where we have been based.
Aran about to deploy a mooring (Photo: M. Kaplan)

We have almost a 3-week break from fieldwork now - but check back here during the first week of May - Aran and I head to Hawaii for the last of four melon-headed whale tagging expeditions. Details of that project can be found under the tab "Hawaiian Odontocetes" at the top of the page.


(Photo: A. Mooney)

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