An innovative technology is making substantial advancements in aquatic research. Visual remote underwater survey methods have long been the backbone of biomass estimation and ecological observations. However, limitations in these methods, particularly their reliance on light, sensitivity to turbidity, and visual obstructions have prompted researchers to seek alternative approaches.
Imaging sonars, at the forefront of underwater exploration utilizing sound waves instead of light, represent a pioneering advancement. Engineered with high-frequency multibeam systems (≥700 kHz), these acoustic cameras introduce a novel dimension to aquatic studies. Unlike optical cameras, they operate independently of ambient light, overcoming challenges posed by low visibility and turbidity. The intricate details and high sampling rates of imaging sonars unveil morphometric features and behaviours, even in the absence of light.
Imaging sonar field deployment by paper co-author Matt Kimball. A good example of a pole mount for vessel-deployment.