Finding unique technological applications to conduct science more efficiently is at the core of FISHBIO’s values. So we jumped at the chance when one of our biologists was invited to a hydroacoustics workshop hosted by BioSonics Inc. in Seattle, Washington. The conference was attended by a small group of researchers and consultants with varying levels of experience and familiarity with hydroacoustic sampling methods, which range from single-beam echosounders to multibeam acoustic cameras like the ARIS. The workshop was designed to be a crash course in all things hydroacoustic. From theory and analyses to data collection and study design, the course covered what seemed like a semester’s worth of material in just three days. There was even time for some data collection of fish abundance and vegetation mapping on Lake Washington during an unusually sunny and warm day in Seattle (“sunny and warm” being relative terms, of course).
BioSonics is a family-run business that has been operating in Seattle since 1978. Born out of the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory, the company has been at the cutting edge of hydroacoustic technology since its inception, contributing a number of new innovations to the field. Today, their in-house manufactured echosounders can be applied to a variety of research projects, from substrate classifications to vegetation mapping and fisheries assessments. Recent advancements in their software have enabled real-time tracking and processing of fish data, allowing for a full analysis of the fish community sometimes before the boat is even tied up at the dock. We are excited to explore future opportunities to apply this technology.