Going the Distance: Use of Diver Propulsion Units, Underwater Acoustic Navigation, and Three-Way Wireless Communication to Survey Kelp Forest Habitats

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Going the Distance: Use of Diver Propulsion Units, Underwater Acoustic Navigation, and Three-Way Wireless Communication to Survey Kelp Forest Habitats

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Title: Going the Distance: Use of Diver Propulsion Units, Underwater Acoustic Navigation, and Three-Way Wireless Communication to Survey Kelp Forest Habitats
Author: Kimura, S; Cox, G; Carroll, J; Pengilley, S; Harmer, A
Abstract: Here we describe a kelp forest survey technique using an underwater acoustic navigation system coupled with diver propulsion units (DPUs). The surveys characterized kelp forest habitats and macro-biota along the inshore sections of five routes proposed for deploying temporary underwater seismic cables in San Luis Obispo County, California. The total distance surveyed was nearly 5 km (3 mi) over a period of five days. Survey depths ranged between 18 m (60 ft) and 3 m (10 ft) MLLW. Acoustic transponders set to transmit separate acoustic frequencies were attached to temporary drop buoys, and using GPS were sequentially positioned up to 200 m apart along the cable routes. The acoustic signals received by a transponder interrogator unit on a DPU enabled the lead diver to accurately navigate from one transponder to the next and to record predominant habitats and macro-biota while en route. A dive buddy with a video camera mounted to a second DPU videotaped sections of the cable route while also transiting. For safety and improved communication, we used a wireless 3-way communication system with full face masks. Using typical kelp forest survey protocols, such as meter tapes and swimming compass courses underwater, would have been especially difficult over these depths and distances.
Description: American Academy of Underwater Sciences (http://www.aaus.org/)
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/10326
Date: 2012

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