#9: What's Happening - Testing Science

Not every marine scientist has a twenty-three foot deep pool filled with 200,000 gallons of salt water sitting right next his or her office. Add a smattering of creatures (some 650+) and it's a researcher's dream come true.

Dr. Joshua Idjadi, a marine scientist for the New England Aquarium's Research Department, just so happens to have such a pool sitting next to his office, and he's not one to let such resources go to waste.

Not two weeks has passed since Dr. Idjadi had completed his checkout dive in the Giant Ocean Tank and he's already plunging back into the exhibit to test the effectiveness of something known as an "acoustical pop-up."

Talking about the long-term New England Aquarium study involving the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) deepwater port off Gloucester Harbor, Dr. Idjadi says, "One of our research goals is to track fish movements around the LNG port. This means we have to deploy an array of expensive fish tracking devices in 300 feet of water. To retrieve these devices, we are using acoustic releases (the long gray tube shown in the images) which allow us to remotely release our tracking devices from the bottom. They work by receiving a sound signal generated by a transmitter located on the surface (on a boat, for instance), triggering the corrosion of two metal loops which hold the device to the bottom, and sending it floating to the surface. We wanted to be sure the releases were working properly so we tested them in the GOT before using them in the field. The test was successful! "

Here's some images from Tuesday's test (click to enlarge).

I was lucky enough to watch the experiment from a pretty good vantage point and therefore had a chance to see an acoustical pop-up in action.

Not only was the experiment a complete success, but it provided an opportunity to educate visitors on one of the many research activities the Aquarium conducts all over our blue planet. Here, researcher John Mandleman explains what is going on to people gathered at the top of the Giant Ocean Tank.

Oh, and it helped keep some of our angelfish entertained as well...



  1. Great pics! What kind of camera do you use to get these?

    Also, did the device track the fish in the GOT?

  2. I'm confused... how does this work?
    What do the tubes do?

  3. It looks like the fishies are crowding around the gear. Are they attracted to it?

  4. Sorry for an off-topic comment, but if someone wanted to present an idea for the blog here and volunteer to assist it, what would the best method be to go about it?

  5. Hi Patrick,
    To do such a thing you would talk to either the divers or to Jeff Ives in communications. His email is jives@neaq.org.

    What's your idea?

  6. Well, I don't know if you have or do watch The Colbert Report, but it would be a take on their "Better Know a District" segment they occasionally do - only without the biting sarcasm and satire - on the aquarist, and if they want, the interns (which could be a rolling segment with interns always changing). I figure with the former it would be a good way to let people know who they keep seeing on the webcams, and with the latter, it gives them something to take home with them during and/or after their internship at the aquarium is over.

    I'm supposed to fly down to NASA* for a 3-4 month period to help with a study, and with a large amount of open time it leaves me with, and the fact I'd have an external hard drive with adobe premiere pro on it with me, I thought this would be a good project to take up during my tenure there.

    * Being that said NASA facility was in, of all places, Galveston, TX, my screening and study is naturally delayed until people can go back into the area. But still the idea is open and it grants more time to prepare should the idea be accepted.

  7. **Great blog**
    Informative and interesting at the same time! I also love all of the photos that you chose...they really give a great visual representation of the blog itself. Also, I've recently learned a little about the LNG port, but would love to learn more about what the aquarium is doing to protect the marine life surrounding this massive project.
    Will NEAq be sending their own divers?

    Curious in LA


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