NOAA orders enhanced versions of Sea Technology Service’s Acoustic Optical Sampler (AOS)

NOAA's Advanced Survey Technologies (AST) group, based at Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, San Diego, has contracted Sea Technology Services (STS) to design and manufacture enhanced versions of the autonomous STS Acoustic Optical Sampler II (AOS II) instruments that have been successfully sending live data from moorings off the Californian Coast.

AOS live data can be viewed here on the Scripps Institute of Oceanography's California Current Ecosystem mooring website.

AOS is a bi-directional, hydro-acoustic and optical sampler for mapping the dispersions of fishes and estimating their abundances, by species, over large areas, in a non-lethal manner. AOS is designed to be compact, lightweight and autonomous for integration, or standalone attachment, to a wide range of sensor platforms.

AOS's miniature, integrated sensors provide an efficient, ship-independent, complementary approach to ecosystem-based sampling. AOS augments ship-based surveys in marine protected areas (MPAs), enable non-lethal surveys of endangered or protected species; and allow observations of fish and zooplankton in the boundary areas that are traditionally inaccessible to sampling.

AOS III units will incorporate the tried and tested AOS II features plus additional design enhancements to:

  • The optics
  • Embedded acoustic data processing software
  • Micro-controller and power control circuitry
  • Battery life

Improving the overall specification to: 

  • Integrated bi-directional micro-echosounder
  • On-board hydro-acoustic data processing and bin averaging
  • An integrated adaptive sampling camera with enhanced LED strobe lighting
  • High resolution photographs and raw acoustic data stored on micro-SD card
  • Bin averaged acoustic data, low resolution photographs and control data sent via inductive modem to Iridium satellite phone
  • Integrated precision temperature sensor
  • Attitude sensor module for orientation of acoustic data
  • Configurable telemetry for interfacing to inductive modems and other equipment
  • Non-metallic 800m pressure casing
  • Internally battery powered with optional external 18 month battery pack
  • Tethered USB connection for live acoustic calibrations