Topic 3: Modernize Ocean Infrastructure and Enhance Technology Development
Lead PI: Dr. Robert A. Nichols, Johns Hopkins University
The design of a coastal communications network that enables real-time telemetry collection and connectivity can be employed for a wide range of applications. The advantage of establishing a United States Coastal Area Network (U-SCAN) is the ability to permit immediate and ad hoc access for both manned and unmanned platforms. Commercial Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) technology has become a technically mature and commercially pervasive technology which we believe will permit such an infrastructure to be realized in the near-term for coastal instrumentation and other roles. It is anticipated that improved wireless communications will find immediate applications in the evolving national network of coastal ocean observing systems, the planned coastal component of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Ocean Observation Initiative (OOI) and in diverse applications such as commercial and homeland security applications. The proposed design will follow a four-step process. First, high-level requirements for the U-SCAN will be derived. Second, available WLAN and over-the-horizon (OTH) communications technologies will be assessed for their overall applicability against the requirements. Third, performance studies will be conducted to determine the viability of those technologies to be combined in an integrated architecture. Finally, proposals for technology demonstrations will be conceived to address implementation issues, risk mitigation, and technology transition. A documented design will be produced through these steps.
The other primary area of interest is the support to ship-based researchers and operators with U-SCAN connectivity not only to the autonomous platforms but also into the terrestrial, global Internet. It is also prudent to consider other user segments such as U.S. Coast Guard platforms, which could potentially share an infrastructure such as this for homeland security missions. Private sector at-sea operators (e.g. fishing boats) will also be considered.
The implementation issues of the U-SCAN architecture could best be considered via a demonstration of the technology. The critical requirements that stress the network will be identified and demonstration approaches documented for those requirements. These may include laboratory, land-based and sea-based demonstrations.
The participants in this partnership have extensive background in oceanography, autonomous platform development for oceanographic use and communications and network engineering. The partnership will leverage these diverse backgrounds to incorporate both the scientific aspects of this type of network and the technological aspects involved in implementing the U-SCAN network. We plan to deliver a design and demonstration plan for a coastal communications network that provides an integrated perspective of user classes and desired capabilities, communications network requirements, performance analyses, demonstration approaches, cost estimates, and key follow-on activities.
Number of Years: 2
- The Johns Hopkins University
- Rutgers University
- Webb Research Corporation
Lead PI: Dr. Jack W. Bradbury, Cornell University
This proposal is a response to BAA 03-014: M(4) Algorithms and Databases. It proposes a broadly based and highly sustainable solution to the call for “open-access data archives… for animal sounds”. We request funds to integrate three independent data sources: i) a rapidly growing marine animal sound archive at the Macaulay Library; ii) contemporary acoustic survey datasets from cetacean research programs, and iii) other existing NOPP databases (such as OBISSEAMAP). We have designed a seamless framework that will be transparent to Internet users of the constituent databases and provide integrated and cross-referenced access to acoustic, distributional, and biogeographic data. In addition to assembling this interdisciplinary database, our proposal addresses a number of the informational needs outlined in a recent NOAA report (Mellinger and Barlow, 2003). We identify key recommendations in that report and outline below how the proposed integrated library structure will help meet those declared needs.
Number of Years: 2
- Cornell University
- NOAA National Marine Mammal Laboratory
- NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
Lead PI: Drs. Mark Johnson and Peter Tyack, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Several mass strandings of beaked whales in recent years have been associated with nearby deployments of mid-frequency navy sonars and, more recently, airguns used for seismic exploration. Although the connection between sound and stranding is circumstantial, the persistence of such strandings suggests that beaked whales, especially Ziphius cavirostris and Mesoplodon sp., may be acutely sensitive to sound in the low-kilohertz range. While this may result from an anatomical susceptibility, it is likely that a combination of factors, physiological, behavioral and habitat choice, increase the risk to these whales. Unfortunately, the deep-diving lifestyle and acoustically cryptic behavior of most beaked whales makes them extremely difficult to study. Since 2000, with funding from SERDP, we have been developing filed sites for studying Z. cavirostris and M. densirostris. Working with European partners, ULL and bluWest, we have discovered two sites with very high encounter rates. This work culminated in attachments of the DTAG, an acoustic and multi-sensor recording tag to three Z. cavirostris, the first time this species has been tagged successfully.
We propose an integrated effort to develop the field sites and methodologies necessary to achieve reliable DTAG recordings on beaked whales, especially Z. cavirostris and M. densirostris, with the ultimate goal of performing controlled exposure experiments (CEEs) to tagged whales. The DTAG data will be combined with surface visual observations, photo-identification and genetic catalogs, and rapid fine-scale physical oceanographic measurements in the presence of beaked whales, to provide a thorough characterization of the movement patterns, vocalizations, foraging styles, and preferred habitat of tagged whales. The resulting baseline data will greatly expand our understanding and will be crucial in developing effective mitigation policies for these sensitive animals. As tagging operations become reliable, we will plan a pilot CEE study aimed at examining the behavioral responses of beaked whales to low levels of low and/or mid-frequency sound. Before attempting such a study, we will host a workshop to establish safety guidelines, stimulus priorities, and target levels.
Number of Years: 2
- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
- University of La Laguna, Spain
- Government of the Canary Islands, Spain
- BluWest, Italy
- SACLANT Undersea Research Center
- Central Institute for Applied Marine Research, Italy
Lead PI: Dr. Darlene Ketten, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
At present, there are broad scientific and public concerns about potential impacts of human sound sources in the oceans. Both research and U.S. Navy operations are hampered by intense public oversight and even injunction because of a lack of knowledge about the hearing and the mechanisms and specificity of acoustic impacts for many marine mammals. These concerns are particularly acute for effects of sonars on whales and dolphins, as reflected by emphasis in this program announcement on the need for data on underwater hearing and acoustic impacts, particularly for beaked whales.
It is imperative for conservation purposes that we find some means of assessing as accurately as possible how marine mammals may be affected by anthropogenic noise in the oceans, but to achieve the necessary level of detailed insight known about hearing in land mammals would require acute experimentation on whales that is impossible for practical, regulatory, and ethical considerations. Therefore, we must invent alternative methods for obtaining reliable underwater hearing and impact estimates. To accomplish this requires developing robust, marine-explicit auditory models.
To that end, we propose to develop biophysically based models of the acoustic power flow from the water, through the tissues of the head and middle ear, into the cochlea, and ultimately to the sensory receptor cells (hair cells). These models will allow us to estimate audiograms for multiple odontocete species from anatomical and mechanical measurements and to predict the excitation pattern within individual cochlea for a range of acoustic inputs as well as modeling stresses and strains on key cochlear tissues from over-stimulation.
Number of Years: 2
- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
- Boston University
- Naval Research Laboratory
Lead PI: Dr. Douglas DeProspo, Arete Associates
The overall objective of the proposed baseline program is to establish the ability of current or planned ship-based radars, augmented by specialized signal processing, to detect, discriminate and track (geo-locate) a number of different marine mammal species (e.g., great whales, schooling dolphins, etc.) under a variety of representative sea environments (e.g., Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, etc.). This work will build upon the technology base generated during the recent Project Humpback. To support the realization of the overall objective, we have designed a comprehensive two-year program, centered on modeling, simulation and experimental validation and demonstration, around the more specific objectives.
Number of Years: 2
- Areté Associates
- Johns Hopkins University APL
- SACLANT Undersea Research Centre
- University of Hawaii – West Oahu
Lead PI: Drs. Colleen Reichmuth Kastak and David Kastak, University of California Santa Cruz
Noise in the marine environment has increased significantly during the past several decades as a result of escalating industrial and military activities. Consequently, there is growing concern for how marine animals and ecosystems may be adversely affected by anthropogenic noise. Navy sponsored research programs have examined auditory processes in taxa such as fish, turtles, seals, and dolphins in efforts to better understand the hearing of aquatic organisms and the impacts of various noise sources. Current knowledge of hearing in marine mammals has been largely generated by behavioral studies using captive animals trained to participate in psychophysical testing procedures. Although this behavioral approach has yielded important data on auditory processing for certain marine mammals, it is costly, time consuming, and limited to a small sample size of individuals representing a small number of species. An alternative to obtaining behavioral measures of hearing sensitivity is a physiological technique based on the measurement of small electrical voltages produced by the brain in response to an acoustic stimulation. These voltages are called auditory evoked potentials (AEPs). This method has been applied to the investigation of auditory processes in numerous terrestrial mammals and in some dolphins and other toothed whales. The success of this approach in evaluating physiological processes of the auditory system in small cetacean species (whales, porpoises and dolphins) has led to the speculation that it can be applied to studying hearing in amphibious marine mammals such as the pinnipeds (seals and sea lions). However, the application of this approach to the study of pinniped hearing is problematic for several reasons. First, there is a lack of standardization of testing procedures in the marine mammals that have been studied thus far using AEP measurements. Second, there is a lack of basic information about the relevant electrophysiological characteristics of the pinniped auditory system that must be addressed to make comparisons between pinnipeds and other marine mammals. This information is required for the development of standardized testing procedures that will allow rapid assessment of auditory sensitivity across multiple species.
The research proposed here will answer fundamental questions about AEP measurement in pinnipeds and examine the feasibility of using AEP techniques to measure hearing sensitivity and noise impacts in three representative species. The primary objective of the proposed study is to standardize techniques so that they can be used to directly compare electrophysiological and behavioral hearing assessments within individuals and to determine the variation in results expected between the two techniques. A second objective is to compare the results obtained with pinnipeds to those obtained in dolphins using similar electrophysiological approaches. This will be accomplished through a research partnership involving academic, government, and industry cooperation. Results of the proposed research will enhance Office of Naval Research (ONR) efforts and technological capability to investigate marine mammal bioacoustics and the impact of underwater noise on marine mammals. Following the benchmarking of an AEP system and establishment of data collections protocols, the AEP technique can be applied to several research areas relevant to ONR with the likelihood of obtaining more expedient results in those areas. These include, but are not limited to, increasing the number of marine mammal species for which hearing data is available and examining the effects of noise exposure on the hearing of pinnipeds inhabiting diverse environments. Ultimately, these efforts will facilitate the work of regulatory agencies responsible for establishing and enforcing appropriate guidelines related to the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act, and improve environmental compliance planning and assessment for military and industrial activities.
The proposed study will develop an evoked potential audiometry system and standardized approach to determining AEP’s in the study of marine mammal hearing. The University of California Santa Cruz (academic partner and primary offeror), the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (government partner), and BIOMIMETICA (industry partner) will cooperatively engage in the technological development of an AEP system and the comparative electrophysiological and behavioral investigations necessary to groundtruth the system. The research will be carried out at two sites: pinniped research will be conducted at Long Marine Laboratory at the University of California in Santa Cruz and comparative dolphin investigations will be conducted at the Navy Marine Mammal Program (NMMP) of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in San Diego (SSC SD). Technology development and refinement of data collection protocols for the dolphin research is currently underway at SSC SD in a research partnership between the NMMP and BIOMIMETICA.
Evoked potentials will be elicited and recorded from trained subjects representing three pinniped species. Results will be compared to cetacean audiometric data collected with similar AEP techniques and behavioral audiometric data collected in the same pinnipeds. This laboratory research will investigate optimal electrode placement positions, identify appropriate stimulus parameters, and characterize the evoked physiological response to various stimuli. Electrophysiological threshold measurements will be obtained at a range of frequencies and compared to threshold measurements made at the same frequencies using traditional behavioral methodologies. This work will be done in parallel with ongoing studies by the government and industry partner comparing electrophysiological and behavioral measures of auditory sensitivity in bottlenose dolphins. The behavioral and physiological hearing assessments in the dolphin and pinniped test subjects will be standardized in the current study, allowing for appropriate comparisons to be made with respect to hearing sensitivity and technology development. Technology developments and research protocols resulting from these studies will be used in several future transitions, including rapid assessment of hearing loss following controlled noise exposures, use of the AEP technique under aerial ambient noise conditions with untrained animals, and exploration of whether the technique can be adapted for underwater testing of pinnipeds
Number of Years: 1
- University of California, Santa Cruz
- U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center,