Argos DCS System Use Agreement of the Month
– August 2015
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Bioacoustics Research Program
The Bioacoustics Research Program (BRP) is a unit within the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. BRP develops digital recording equipment, computer software, and algorithms that are used by scientists around the world to study animal communication and to monitor the health of wildlife populations. BRP is also pioneering new techniques for censusing and tracking wildlife with arrays of microphones placed in natural environments around the world. BRP will be using Argos/GPS devices developed by Sirtrack to allow emergency tracking of its Marine Autonomous Recording Units (MARUs).
The MARU is a device developed by the Cornell Bioacoustics Research Program to remotely make non-lossy digital recordings of underwater sounds with a minimum of resources and expenses. The MARU is physically built within a single evacuated borosilicate glass sphere. Externally, the sphere is housed within a protective plastic helmet with a hydrophone and piezo speaker mounted on its side.
The unit is deployed to depths of up to 3200m and anchored to the sea floor. The lower rigging is attached to a fusible burn cable for releasing the anchors upon receipt of an acoustic command so the device will freely float up to the surface for recovery. Occasionally the units are dragged by fishing trawlers or release prematurely from storm-related waves or surges as a result of major meteorological events. In these cases, they may float to the surface unexpectedly when BRP personnel are not present and the unit is therefore not immediately recovered. The Sirtrack Argos units are activated upon reaching the surface by way of a salt water switch. This immediately begins the Argos tracking, location, and notification process, allowing BRP to coordinate the recovery of the MARU.