SIMRES now has three world class Ocean Sonics icListenHF hydrophones, the first thanks to the generosity of Tom & Christine Gallagher of Calgary and named “JPG” after Tom’s father. The second hydrophone, thanks to a member of the Hewlett family in California who sponsored us for funding from their Flora Foundation, is named after “Ian Smyth” who helped save our pristine East Point area from a pipeline project. The third hydrophone has come to us thanks to a donation from Joan Hoskinson, a resident of Saturna Island who is a much appreciated supporter of our SIMRES initiative.
With these three hydrophones we will be able to provide precision triangulation for the tracking of our endangered Southern Resident Orca population as well as the effects of commercial shipping in our area. This Ocean Sonics icListen HF array offers the highest available technology for immediate and future years of research. It is helping encourage development of a growing research presence on Saturna. So far, funding has come from the Capital Regional District (CRD), Saturna Lions Club, Saturna Community Club, private donors and through in-kind donations of labour and materials. Ocean Networks Canada has also been a major contributor. The total value of contributions to this project in 2014 was approximately $126,000.
Several dive surveys were carried out to find the most suitable locations for the first two hydrophones. The ideal locations were identified as East Point and Monarch Head. Our hydrophones have since been installed at each of these sites in order to provide for a basic research capability for studying the orca population of Boundary Pass in the Haro Strait. The first SIMRES hydrophone was deployed just south of the lighthouse at East Point and is now linked ashore with underwater cables to our terminal at a private residence. The second SIMRES hydrophone has been deployed at a remote controlled location out at Monarch Head. Both locations are adjacent to private properties with full cooperation from the property owners. It is proposed that the third hydrophone will be installed at Skipjack Island which is an ideal location for the most accurate triangulation.
The SIMRES hydrophone array is now one of the most technologically advanced hydrophone facilities in the world today. Ocean Networks Canada is providing technical support for our network and will be undertaking development projects to enhance our hydrophone capabilities. Several researchers are now using our data to learn more about our whale populations, to better understand the effects of shipping noise on whale activities and on the technical front to further develop acoustic monitoring software. All of this activity is contributing to and supporting our ongoing educational initiatives.
Information about other projects using hydrophones: