Environmental Impacts

Development of a Sonar Array for Automated Animal Classification

Led by Yanjun Li, Ph.D.
Affiliated Home Campus: Harbor Branch
Affiliated Department: Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute


Alex Schaff worked with Dr. Yanjun Li and his team to develop an efficient data logger for sonar arrays that can be used for automated animal classification associated with marine renewable energy projects. Before beginning any large-scale underwater project, it is important to understand the acoustic environment of the proposed location. This information can be used to determine what kind of marine life is present and what its behavioral patterns are. This project designed a simple and robust sonar array that can be used to collect this information by recording and localizing sounds. To this end, a compact self-inflating array structure was developed for deployment from small platforms such as aircraft and autonomous underwater vehicles. This year, the focus was on the electronics of such a system. Two systems were developed and tested, one based on a Teensy microcontroller and one based on a BeagleBone single board computer. Both form the backbone of powerful, low-cost recording, and expandable solutions that can be deployed underwater with no need for surface support. Both designs provide high quality multi-channel audio data at a fraction of the cost of a typical recording system.

Click here to watch the student presentation.

HBOI ocean fish