Whales of New York City

Latest update April 19, 2019 Started on October 14, 2018
sea

Join us as we listen to learn about the whales and dolphins living just off of New York City! We are recording their calls and identifying which species are here. Plus we are documenting the ocean noise conditions that they have to live with in these busy waters.

October 14, 2018
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Preparation

Our underwater drone is now up and running! Before using it in the turbid waters of the New York Harbor where underwater visibility is limited, we decided to do a test-run in the Bronx River. In this river, the drone did remarkably well, and we were able to see the fluvial ecosystem in motion as several fish darted by. However, the conditions of the New York Harbor and the surrounding waters are quite different from those in the Bronx River, and the environment is much more variable. When we trialed our underwater drone, the sea state and current conditions made it difficult to test. While our first trial day was unsuccessful, we have high hopes for the potential of this drone in aiding our research. After refining our understanding of how and when to use the underwater drone, it will be an invaluable resource for our acoustic recorder deployments. Placement and retrieval of our acoustic recorders currently depend on support from the New York Aquarium dive team, who brave near-freezing waters in winter to insure the success of our deployments. With the help of the underwater drone, we will be able to assess new deployment sites and perform other tasks without endangering our divers. Moreover, when divers are needed for a specific research task, the drone will create safer conditions by providing a comprehensive underwater assessment of the sea state. Our drone will also enable us to safely check the conditions of our recorders throughout their deployment, even during particularly harsh and cold winter months. Not to mention, it may catch new and interesting footage of New York’s underwater neighbors! We are now gearing up for our next trial day with our underwater drone; stay tuned!

Expedition Background

We use a technique called “passive acoustic monitoring” to better understand the whales that use the waters off New York City. We are also documenting the ocean noise in the New York Harbor and outer Harbor area. The New York Aquarium dive team will be deploying recording equipment throughout the harbor over a two-year period. We’ll also be using underwater drones to help us scope sites, retrieve the equipment, and check and monitor the equipment while it is underwater. We need to visit the sites after big storms. Join us as we use high tech tools to study and protect these ocean giants.

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This sounds like a really neat project. I am looking forward to seeing/listening what you find. I too am using passive acoustic monitoring for my project in British Columbia. I am also planing to use a ROV (the Trident from OpenROV) to retrieve my moorings. It would be very useful to share our retrieval techniques to see what works best. Using ROVs is a new thing for me.


Looking forward to your updates.

Check out my project here: https://openexplorer.nationalgeographic.com/expedition/fishsounds/

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