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Acoustic approaches to remote species identification: a review

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Noninvasive species identification remains a long-term goal of fishers, researchers, and resource managers who use sound to locate, map, and count aquatic organisms. Since the first biological applications of underwater acoustics, four approaches have been used singly or in combination to survey marine and freshwater environments: passive sonar; prior knowledge and direct sampling; echo statistics from high-frequency measures; and matching models to low-frequency measures. Echo amplitudes or targets measured using any sonar equipment are variable signals. Variability in reflected sound is influenced by physical factors associated with the transmission of sound through a compressible fluid, and by biological factors associated with the location, reflective properties, and behaviour of a target. The current trend in acoustic target identification is to increase the amount of information collected through increases in frequency bandwidth or in the number of acoustic beams. Exclusive use of acoustics to identify aquatic organisms reliably will require a set of statistical metrics that discriminate among a wide range of similar body types at any packing density, and incorporation of these algorithms in routine data processing.
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Keywords: acoustics; backscatter amplitude; species identification; target strength

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Michigan and NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Laboratory

Publication date: 2000-12-01

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