link to AFSC home page

link to AFSC home page link to NMFS home page link to NOAA home page

Resource Assessment & Conservation Engineering (RACE) Division

AFSC Quarterly
Research Reports
Oct-Nov-Dec 2007
ABL Reports
FMA Reports
NMML Reports
RACE Reports
REFM Reports
Quarterly Index
Quarterly Home

Midwater Assessment & Conservation Engineering Program

MACE Program Tests New Multibeam Sonar

Staff from the Midwater Assessment & Conservation Engineering (MACE) Program and Simrad Fisheries, Inc. conducted acceptance tests for the new Simrad ME70 multibeam sonar installed aboard the NOAA ship Oscar Dyson in Puget Sound during 15-19 October 2007. Other participants during the tests included scientists from the Northwest (NWFSC) and Southwest (SWFSC) Fisheries Science Centers, and the University of New Hampshire's Center for Coastal Ocean Mapping.

The acceptance trials included ME70 dockside testing, acoustic calibration, and underway data collection. The ME70 uses multibeam technology to image a wide swath of the water column. Unlike customary multibeam instruments designed for bathymetric purposes, the ME70 is specifically designed for fisheries research. Thus, the instrument has a much greater dynamic range and desirable lower side lobe levels than traditional multibeam sonars, as well as the ability to provide quantitative measurements over its entire profiling range (i.e., throughout the water column).

These features enable acoustic quantitative measurements to be made on aggregations of organisms found in the water column ranging from fish to plankton. The ME70, and the closely related MS70, were developed as a joint collaboration among Simrad Fisheries, and the French (IFREMER) and Norwegian (IMR) Fisheries research institutes. Ultimately, ME70 multibeam systems will be installed on all four of the new noise-reduced NOAA fishery research vessels.

Plans are currently under way for NOAA Fisheries researchers to develop the expertise necessary to realize the full research potential of the ME70. Thus, efforts are being made to expedite training of NOAA Fisheries researchers on the design, function, and application of the ME70. In addition, efforts are under way to develop a coordinated and complementary ME70 multibeam research plan among researchers representing NOAA, IFREMER, and IMR to more fully determine the performance capabilities of the ME70 and to address fisheries-related research questions of mutual interest.

To facilitate these needs, Chris Wilson (AFSC) and David Demer (SWFSC) participated on a cruise aboard the IFREMER research vessel Thalassa in October 2007, when the ME70 was used during a survey of pelagic and demersal fishes off the west coast of France. Results of the Thalassa survey, the Oscar Dyson acceptance trials, as well as other ME70-related issues were presented at the AFSC during a recent teleconference meeting of an ad hoc group of ME70 users on 3 December, which included participants from Northeast Fisheries Science Center, SWFSC, and Simrad Fisheries.

By Chris Wilson and Patrick Ressler

<<< previous

next >>>

            Home | FOIA | Privacy | | Accessibility      doc logo