How does sound travel in high energy environments? Effectiveness of acoustic monitoring systems and turbine audibility assessment.

Principal Investigators:

John Moloney, JASCO Applied Sciences

Start Date: April 2017

End Date: September 2020

The research focus is to design and implement a long-term acoustic monitoring program to support tidal energy development in the Bay of Fundy.  Project plans are to deploy specialized acoustic instrumentation to advance understanding how turbulence affects our ability to detect marine mammals, and to what extent these species can detect a tidal turbine.  State-of-the-art hydrophones will be deployed for a period of two months in Grand Passage, together with an active source that generates dolphin-like whistles and clicks.  Soundscape data will be collected during the instrument deployment period then modeled to measure how low frequency sounds (eg. dolphin clicks) propagate through turbulent waters.

The modeling results will be used to infer how the turbulent flow impacts on our ability to detect the presence of marine life.  Further, the research will also estimate the ‘audibility zone’ of turbines for different marine mammals; that is, estimate the ability of species to ‘acoustically see’ a turbine.