Once abundant throughout the North Atlantic, the North Atlantic right whale population has been reduced to fewer than 360 individuals and has been designated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as a critically endangered species. During the whaling era, these whales were exploited by the thousands for their plentiful oil and baleen. Now they face new challenges of ocean regime shifts linked to human-induced climate change. In the Gulf of Maine and the Scotian shelf regions, these regime shifts have resulted in less favorable foraging environments for the right whales.
To investigate the impact of these ocean regime shifts on the North Atlantic right whale, Kimberley Davies and her team from the University of New Brunswick along with collaborators that include the New England Aquarium, the Canadian Whale Institute, Dalhousie University and snow crab fishers in the Gulf of St Lawrence, have been deploying ASL’s Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP).
ASL AQFlow’s Acoustic Scintillation Flow Meter (ASFM) has been installed at the BC Hydro’s Wahleach project near Hope, BC, as a replacement to an existing Over-Velocity Detection System (OVDS). Hydroelectric operations use these detection systems in order to detect if the tunnel or penstock downstream of the intake has a leak or rupture. In such cases, intake gates are closed to prevent uncontrolled release of water that can be potentially dangerous for the public and may cause damage to properties and infrastructure.
The ASFM uses ultrasonic pulses across an intake to analyze variations in turbulence to measure flow. These data are used to produce real-time current velocities and discharge volumes. At the Wahleach site, two independent 4-path ASFM instruments—acoustic beams consisting of transmitter (Tx) and receiver (Rx) pairs—were mounted to a removable frame that was lowered into an intake slot. ...
The Ice Profiling Sonar (IPS) is an example of an Upward-Looking Sonar (ULS) that provides continuous (1-2 Hz), high-resolution (1 cm vertical, ~1 m horizontal) measurement of ice draft. ASL has recently completed a second field test of a prototype IPS with a logarithmic detector module, the IPS5L. The IPS5L was deployed in seasonally ice-covered waters near Nain, Labrador in collaboration with the Nunatsiavut Government via a through-ice deployment from February - October 2020 ...
Click here to view the presentation.
On June 10, 2021, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announced four new projects with a total value of over $3.5 million, including the Real-time Bubble Diffuser Aeration Entrainment Monitor Project. This BC-led project will develop a real-time entrainment monitoring system for aquaculture fish farms in complex coastal ocean environments.
The Real-time Bubble Diffuser Aeration Entrainment Monitor Project is led by ASL Environmental Sciences, who will develop services and products for the installation and maintenance ...
Click here to see video of Canada's Ocean Supercluster project announcement.
In recognition of the importance of the Pacific herring, the Salish Sea Community Guardians, an organization dedicated to all aspects of stewardship for Salish Seas First Nations, have created a cross-cultural action plan. This action plan would provide First Nations traditional herring spawning habitat recovery and protection in key herring spawning areas in waters around southern Vancouver Island. Part of this action plan involves the construction of two types of habitat curtains suspended below floating docks and log booms. These curtains, made from either synthetic materials or hemlock and cedar branches, provide ideal spawning sites for the depositing of herring eggs.
ASL Environmental Sciences Inc., in collaboration with the Salish Sea Community Guardians, deployed an Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) on March 17, 2021. This multi-frequency echosounder was placed in a traditional herring spawning location in Saanichton Bay near Victoria B.C.
(Drone footage supplied by Geoff Mullins, GKM Research)
ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. is pleased to announce its product distribution and service partnership with DASCO Equipment Inc. DASCO is the Canadian representative for several leading international ocean technology manufacturers, most notably Teledyne Marine and has predominantly operated in eastern Canada. ASL is a leading manufacturer and service firm in the ocean technology and oceanographic marketplace with its head office in Greater Victoria, BC. With this partnership, clients have access to over 75 years of oceanographic experience offering a complete range of oceanographic instruments and services under one umbrella. Here are some of the organizations that this partnership represents.
Biofouling in marine environments is one of the primary limiting factors that will determine the deployment duration of platforms and instrumentation and dictate the service schedule that is required. ClearSignal, manufactured by Severn Marine Technologies, is a clear, non-toxic coating, that resists biofouling. The product acts as a durable, permanent, foul-release coating that is designed to last the life of the equipment it is protecting. Its effectiveness is a result of the non-stick properties of the materials in the proprietary coating. Unlike traditional antifouling systems which rely on active biocides and whose effectiveness degrades with time, ClearSignal retains its effectiveness over time.
An international team of scientists led by Dr. Giulia Castellani of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) and Dr. Jeremy Wilkinson of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have developed a project called EcoLight which uses an Autonomous Biological Echo Sounding Buoy (ABES) to continuously measure changes in the light field and associated biological responses under sea ice. The buoy is designed to be frozen into the ice and drift for deployment periods of one to two years collecting data on a pan-Arctic scale.
The University of Victoria Ph.D. candidate Rhonda Reidy has recently received funding for her project “Modifying an Acoustic Zooplankton and Fish Profiler for quantitative spatial sampling of baleen whale prey in British Columbia”, co-supervised by Dr. Laura Cowen and Dr. Stephane Gauthier. This funding comes from an NSERC Alliance grant awarded to Laura Cowen.Reidy studies baleen whale foraging dynamics. North Pacific humpback whales, in particular, are increasing in abundance and, in BC, are increasingly struck by vessels and entangled in fishing gear. New tools are required to observe their interactions including collecting data on the humpback whale diet. The goal of a partnership between Reidy and ASL Environmental Sciences (ASL) is to collaborate on a modified ASL Acoustic Zooplankton and Fish Profiler (AZFP).
Over the last three years, ASL Environmental Sciences has provided data loggers to a study being conducted at Swan Lake in Victoria, BC. In an ongoing monitoring program, Rob Bowen of Diversified Scientific Solutions has been looking at the relationships between dissolved oxygen, nutrients and cyanobacteria blooms.
...The explanatory power of combining DO loggers, the AZFP with its ability to track position and abundance of cyanobacteria, as well as nutrient testing, gives valuable insights into the dynamics that led up to this fish kill, a problem that’s on the rise globally.
Marine Polar Ecosystem Research is challenging due to the remoteness of the study areas and the presence of sea ice, impeding ship operations, throughout most of the year. Because of this, basic scientific understandings of the ecosystem in Polar areas has lagged that of more temperate and tropical waters. In these areas, especially in the Arctic, the physical and biological regimes are changing faster than all other portions of the world’s oceans. As the physical regime changes, e.g. regional air temperatures increase and sea ice retreats, there are major impacts on the biological regime, most notably in the introduction of invasive species and the threats to natural species, due to habitat changes, up to and including the iconic polar bear species.
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ASL Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce Dannielle Eager as the winner of the fifth annual Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) early career scientist award contest. Dannielle is presently studying at the University of Plymouth at Devon, UK at a postgraduate level in the school of Biological and Marine Science.
Dannielle’s research will focus on the influence of dynamic seamount oceanography on pelagic biota in the tropical Indian Ocean, with support from the Garfield Weston Foundation, Bertarelli Foundation and the University of the Highlands and Islands.
ASL Environmental Sciences (ASL) was chosen by Hemmera Envirochem Inc. and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (port authority) to perform a hydroacoustic study of eulachon fish (Thaleichthys pacificus) distribution in the vicinity of Deltaport Terminals off the mouth of the Fraser River, BC. To support the development of the Dredging and Sediment Discharge Plan that will form part of the Construction Environmental Management Plan of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project (project), the port authority has committed to developing eulachon-specific mitigation that will be used during dredging activities. A pilot study was developed to examine the efficacy of hydroacoustic techniques in detecting adult eulachon.
Online May 4-8 2020
In this presentation, waves in sea ice were examined using spectral analysis. Data for this study were collected over a four year period at two sites located in the Chukchi Sea. Wave height, frequency, steepness, period and attenuation were used to consider linear and nonlinear processes.
The goal of this program is to support the oceanographic and limnological research community by lending, free of charge, a calibrated battery-powered Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler™ (AZFP™) (either 125/200/455/769 kHz or 38/125/200/455 kHz configuration), plus mooring cage and battery for a three-month maximum deployment period along with the support from ASL’s team of experts. This instrument loan program is open to early-career scientists and engineers, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and others involved in oceanographic or freshwater work.
To apply to this program, send a summary proposal (maximum length 4 pages) of your study and description on how it would benefit from the use of the AZFP's capabilities. CVs and letters of support are acceptable in addition to the 4-page proposal. See full detail by reading link to press release below.
In a collaborative effort with the Nunatsiavut Government and Dalhousie University to measure ice, water current and other physical and biological properties of the marine environment, ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. contributed a prototype Log Ice Profiling Sonar (LogIPS), and on February 15th 2020, the sonar was deployed on a taut-line mooring in the waters off Nain, Nunatsiavut, Labrador. The mooring also contained an acoustic doppler current profiler (ADCP) as well as data loggers for chlorophyll, turbidity, temperature-salinity and dissolved oxygen. The mooring was deployed through a hole cut in the sea ice, with an open-water recovery planned for later this year.
The deployment was part of a project run by the Nunatsiavut Government to collect information about the sea ice environment on the Labrador coast using a variety of data sources and multimedia communication tools.
In 2019, Dr. Laura Hobbs (University of Strathclyde and Scottish Association for Marine Science) and Dr. Roland Proud (University of St. Andrews) won the ASL Environmental Sciences annual early career scientist competition to obtain, free of charge, an Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) to study fisheries ecology in Lake Victoria (East Africa). As was proposed, the instrument was deployed in the deepest part of the lake (c. 70 m of water depth) on the 30th November 2019.
Dr. Proud and Prof. Andrew Brierley (University of St. Andrews) returned to Uganda in February 2020 to recover the AZFP. As part of the instrument recovery trip, Dr. Proud and Prof. Brierley ran an acoustics course with 20 fisheries scientists from the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO, Uganda), Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TaFIRI, Tanzania), Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI, Kenya), and the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFiRRI, Uganda).
The SeaCycler is a long-term interactive deep ocean observatory that is equipped with a large payload of oceanographic instruments. It was a key part of the VITALS project that was examining atmospheric gas exchange and deep convection in the Labrador Sea (Atamanchuk et al., 2020). In collaboration with Dr. Dariia Atamanchuk of the University of Dalhousie and Dr. Maxime Geoffroy of the Marine Institute Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland, an ASL Environmental Sciences’ Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) (multi-frequency 38/70/125/200 kHz) has been added to the instrument payload to continuously record acoustic backscatter in the water column.
Sea trials are being conducted in preparation for a long-term deployment of the SeaCycler in the Labrador Sea planned for September of this year.
Instrument with team
ASL Environmental Sciences (ASL) in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada has, following a tender process, entered into a contract with the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Government of Greenland. Under this contract ASL will process and analyze a large amount of airborne hyperspectral data in order to produce mineral maps for the Gardar Province in south Greenland.
November 2019 (article as it appears in the Journal of Ocean Technology 2019)
ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. (ASL), University of Victoria, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) recently completed the first phase of a collaborative research initiative to develop automated analysis tools for data collected by ASL’s multi-frequency echosounder, the AZFP (Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler). This phase of the research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) through an Engage Grant. Following very promising results, the second phase of this initiative, co-funded by ASL and the NSERC Engage Plus Program, is now underway.
ASL Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce Dr. Laura Hobbs and Dr. Roland Proud as winners of the fourth annual Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) early career scientist award contest. They are both Scotland-based marine ecologists, specialising in bioacoustics. Dr. Hobbs is associated with the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and the University of Strathclyde, and Dr. Proud is with the University of St Andrews. Together, they plan to deploy the AZFP in Lake Victoria, East Africa.
ASL Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Matthew Asplin to the position of Metocean and Arctic Project Manager. Dr. Asplin brings a diverse set of multidisciplinary research skills in meteorology, sea ice, and oceanography, and has over 15 years of experience in these fields. He will be responsible for project management and client liaison tasks for projects across these disciplines, and will also be active in responding to business development opportunities and academic collaborations, as well as expanding new consulting services to ASL's present clients. Dr. Asplin will also be active in strategic planning, marketing and actively participate in scientific conferences and workshops.
Dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations and their fluctuations are vital to the aquatic health of eutrophic lakes. As oxygen production through aquatic plant-based photosynthesis is largely dependent on the sun, DO concentrations, especially in the upper water column, vary significantly over a 24-hour period. Because of these variations, spot measurements, if taken on a daily or weekly interval, could be misleading depending on where the measurement occurs on the diurnal cycle. An ASL's lease pool DO logger was used to measure the details of the DO diurnal cycle at Swan Lake, Victoria, BC.
We are pleased to announce that ASL's Dr. Gary Borstad recently received the Val Shaw Memorial Award in recognition of his career- long contribution and lifetime achievements in practical remote sensing applied to natural resource management. This award was presented at the 40th Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing in Fredericton, New Brunswick on June 25th, 2019. The Val Shaw Award was established in 1990 in memory of Val Shaw, an executive with the Bercha Group and a strong proponent of remote sensing in Canada.
The goal of this open proposal program is to support the oceanographic research community by lending, free of charge, a battery-powered AZFP (either 125/200/455/769 kHz or 38/125/200/455 kHz configuration), plus mooring cage and battery for a three-month maximum deployment period along with the support from ASL’s team of experts. This instrument loan program is open to early-career scientists and engineers, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and others involved in oceanographic or freshwater work.
Dr. Steve Pearce and Jay Milligan of ASL Environmental Sciences recently visited Chad Lembke at the College of Marine Science laboratory at the University of South Florida (USF). This lab was the first group to integrate an ASL Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) into a Slocum glider for oceanographic biological surveys (read Sea Technology article). Christopher DeCollibus, Product Line Manager of the Slocum Gliders of Teledyne Marine was also in attendance. This was an opportunity for ASL staff to meet clients face to face to discuss the technologies, work on fine-tuning and instrument interfacing and to focus on research potentials.
ASL is happy to announce the appointment of Mr. Martin Taillefer to the position of Senior Project Manager and Business Development. Martin has been working in the fields of oceanography, hydrography, ocean acoustics and underwater warfare for over 25 years. A naval officer for over 20 years, the latter 10 years were spent as an Underwater Warfare Director and Oceanographer for the Pacific Fleet. Martin oversaw the implementation and operations of decisional systems, acoustic modeling and operational systems for the fleet.
ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. is excited to announce the recent awarding of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Engage Grant for the development of new automated or semi-automated analysis tools for Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) data. This collaboration will be led by Dr. Alexandra Branzan Albu's research group from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of the University of Victoria along with ASL acoustic and remote sensing specialists. AZFP data will be provided by Dr. Stéphane Gauthier of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, who will also bring expertise in the areas of fisheries acoustics, data analyses and interpretation.
Laboratory experiments were carried out in July 2018 with ASL Environmental Sciences' multi-frequency Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement's OHMSETT Oil Spill Response Research and Renewable Energy Facility outdoor saltwater wave tank (Figure 1). These experiments were conducted with the collaboration of the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with funding provided by the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). BSEE has managed the Ohmsett in Leonardo, New Jersey.
Marine sensitivities to hydrocarbon pollutants pose serious impediments to offshore hydrocarbon production-related activities. Autonomous underwater vehicles or ship-towed bodies are a means of combining the long-range detection capabilities of acoustics, with the identification ability of point sensors. The AZFP is a multiple-frequency, calibrated scientific echosounder, with low power consumption, making it well-suited to operation on autonomous vehicles. A recent experiment in a large test tank using an AZFP with 4 high-frequency channels (455, 769, 1250 and 2000 kHz) has shown that subsurface oil is detectable with the AZFP.
A new tool to measure both sediment concentration and sediment size is being built by ASL Environmental Sciences. The Multi-frequency Ultrasonic Device (MUD™) is based on ASL's successful Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP). The MUD and AZFP echosounders can be configured with up to four frequencies ranging from 38 kHz to 2 MHz.
In May 2018, Dr. Gwyn Lintern of NRCan, in collaboration with university researchers, deployed a three frequency (200 kHz, 769 kHz, 1250 kHz) MUD in Bute Inlet, BC. All three frequencies recorded turbidity flows without saturating.
Dr. David Holland of New York University, in collaboration with Dr. Natalya Gomez at McGill University, is leading an investigation of sea level variations in the Disko Bay region of western Greenland. A shore-based system compares the direct arrival of GPS signals to the signals reﬂected oﬀ the sea surface to obtain sea level. The presence of sea ice and icebergs complicate the measurements. A shore-mounted camera provides information about the surroundings and the presence of sea ice and icebergs when there is daylight. Underwater sonar devices can supplement the camera-based observations and eliminate the dependence on daylight to characterize the ice.
The North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management (NSB-DWM) deployed a multifrequency (38, 125, 200 and 455 kHz) ASL Environmental Sciences’ Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) in the nearshore Beaufort Sea at an Arctic lagoon pass near Utqiagvik/Barrow, Alaska (USA), in July 2018. The data retrieved from the AZFP will be used to determine the presence of fish and plankton under ice and their movements between the marine and lagoon environments especially during freeze-up and break-up seasons.
ASL is happy to announce the appointment of Dr. Steve Pearce to the position of acoustics scientist. Dr. Pearce brings over a decade of experience in underwater acoustics R&D to the ASL team. He earned his Ph.D. at Simon Fraser University in 2014, where his studies focused on sidescan sonar signal processing to suppress multipath interference in the context of a multi-angle swath bathymetry array. The key contributions of his thesis were the introduction and analysis of simple and effective beamforming methods applied in a novel context. These methods are designed to attenuate multipath interference while preserving the seafloor return, and the effectiveness of these methods was established through theory, simulation, and numerous field studies.
ASL Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce the winner of the third annual Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) award. Dr. Lilian Lieber, Research Fellow at Queen's University Belfast, has been selected to receive the use of one of ASL's four frequency (38/125/200/455 kHz) AZFPs for her proposal entitled Drivers of Predator–Prey Coherence in Energetic Environments. With this award comes the free of charge use of a four-frequency AZFP including batteries and a mooring cage for a deployment period of up to three months. Also included with this award is support from ASL's team of experts.
Urban freshwater environments are often being exposed to nutrient loading through groundwater movement and runoff of potent fertilizers. These nutrients impose imbalances that influence biological and chemical processes. The impacts are generally negative, causing onsets of algal blooms and widespread fluctuations in oxygen levels. Through an ongoing monitoring program, Rob Bowen of Diversified Scientific Solutions has been conducting surveys at Swan Lake (Victoria BC) and in this study, a new application of the AZFP will be tested to examine hypoxia by using the cyanobacteria Aphanizomenon flos-aquae as a marker
The Central and Arctic Division of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has plans to deploy an array of three multi-frequency (38, 125, 200 and 455 kHz) Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profilers (AZFPs—manufactured by ASL Environmental Sciences) in the Amundsen Gulf in 2018. Data retrieved from the array will be used in conjunction with winter and summer net sampling programs to better understand the early life history of Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) and the zooplankton copepod Calanus spp., both of which are keystone species in the Arctic marine food web.
Climate changes have altered the distribution, intensity and timing of the krill fishery in Antarctic waters when compared to historical data. The fishery season, for example, has expanded as both sea-ice extent and distribution have declined. This expansion leads to a potential negative impact on ecosystem health such as known areas of krill-dependent predators.
NOAA Fisheries Service are preparing to launch a study to determine the spatial and temporal distribution of krill in the Antarctic. The study uses gliders, moorings, camera systems and predator tagging.
For the third year in a row, ASL is happy to announce its early career scientist award program for ASL’s Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP). The winning applicant will receive, free of charge, a battery powered AZFP complete with a mooring cage for a 3-month maximum deployment period with support from ASL’s team of experts.
To apply to this program, send a summary proposal (maximum length 4 pages) of your study and description on how it would benefit from the use of the AZFP's capabilities
The National Research Institute of Fisheries Engineering (NRIFE, Kamisu) of the Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency (FRA, Yokohama) has deployed an ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. multifrequency Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP 125, 200, 455 and 769 kHz) in Yamada Bay, 450 km north of Tokyo since 2013. The collected data are being used to understand seasonal variations of zooplankton in the water column.
The AZFP data aids in the scheduling of the release of hatchery reared juvenile salmon in an effort to increase fish survival.
On January 9th, 2018, a post-doctoral researcher and undergraduate student of Dr. Grace Saba (Assistant Professor, Rutgers University, Center for Ocean Observing Leadership) deployed a Teledyne Webb Slocum Glider with an integrated ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) 38, 125 and 200 kHz instrument in the Terra Nova Bay (Ross Sea, Antarctica). The deployment lasted 3 weeks and the glider was recovered on January 31, 2018.
The purpose of this deployment was to obtain mesoscale and sub-mesoscale measurements of hydrographic processes and simultaneous biological distributions and abundance.