The world's largest solar-powered boat, the Turanor PlanetSolar, is on a mission to spread the message of sustainable energy while investigating and raising public awareness about climate change. It is currently on it's 2013 DeepWater expedition, where the boat will travel along the Gulf Stream, collecting data from both water and air. We are pleased to announce that our very own SM2+ bioacoustics recorder will be traveling along with it. This past Friday, I went with our Product Manager, Sherwood Snyder, and Mona Doss, Director of Sales, to show the science team how to use the device which we had just donated to them.
Walking up to the PlanetSolar is like walking up to a spaceship floating on water. It looks nothing like any of the boats surrounding it. It is streamlined, futuristic, and absolutely breathtaking. Outside sat two large plants flanking the entryway, a gift the ship received from Monaco.
Once inside we were greeted by a few of the scientific crew members. We settled on the best place to put the SM2+ and attached hydrophone and quickly showed them how simple it was to change batteries and SD cards.
The SM2+ was loaded with four 128 GB cards. As they fill up, a crew member will simply have to remove the card to upload the data to a computer and continue recording.
In order to compare acoustic signals they will capture to measurements from their other research tools, the SM2+ was set to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). The sample rate was set to 96 kHz to record frequencies up to 48 kHz, in order to capture dolphin echolocation sounds. The device was then dialed in for continuous recording. We provided the team with enough memory cards and batteries to last until the end of the DeepWater Expedition at the end of August.
We also made sure they had a copy of Song Scope, our powerful spectrogram analysis software, enabling the crew to view their recordings as spectrograms and listen back to the sounds captured at sea. Though the crew is not yet sure how the data will be used, an initial idea is to monitor the density of animal life along the Gulf stream. Because the recordings are time-stamped, they will be able to correlate the sounds with data they record from other devices onboard. The scientists are very curious about what they will find by adding the dimension of sound to their research!
Once we were done with the details of setup, we were treated to the view atop the roof of the ship where we stood amongst 500 square meters of solar panels. It was a spectacular sight!
We are very grateful to be a part of the PlanetSolar DeepWater Expedition, and we can't wait to hear what they find out there!
The DeepWater expedition is realized with the support of the University of Geneva. For more information on the PlanetSolar and the 2013 DeepWater expedition and to follow its trek along the Gulf Stream, visit the official site: http://www.planetsolar.org/
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