How do we manage the hundreds of terabytes of Acoustic data collected during the 2015 field season? Storing and archiving acoustic data presents challenges as data volumes are often large (tens to hundreds of terabytes from a single experiment) and there are many stages of quality control and processing. Like all the programs funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GOMRI), data from the LADC-GEMM project will be archived through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information and Data Cooperative (GRIIDC). LADC-GEMM is GoMRI’s first acoustic-centric data consortium and GRIIDC is integral to the data-sharing process for the LADC-GEMM data.
Original article written by Rosalie Rossi, Technical Coordinator, Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information and Data Cooperative (GRIIDC)
At the end of 2015, the All Hands annual meeting for the Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center-Gulf Ecological Monitoring and Modeling (LADC-GEMM) was held in Lafayette, Louisiana, in part to meet with GRIIDC and discuss acoustic data management. Participants also met to discuss first year accomplishments, future research, and outreach activities of this exciting marine mammal acoustics research.
First year data collection was comprehensively discussed at the meeting, specifically the three passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) platforms used to detect marine mammal sounds: bottom-moored Environmental Acoustic Recording System (EARS) buoys, deep-diving sea gliders, and autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs). deployed between 9 and 50 miles away from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site. LADC-GEMM’s first year was quite a successful one. The consortium concurrently operated three PAM platforms at three sites.
Each PAM platform presents its own advantages and challenges. Issues with deployment, recordings, calibrations, data storage, and processing flows must be carefully addressed. Currently, LADC-GEMM is working on advancing the EARS technology to communicate and receive data from deep ocean in real time. This requires determination of frequency band standardizations to best detect different marine mammal species phonations. New signal processing algorithms must also be designed to transfer the most critical information to the surface in real time as these EARS buoys can record about 200,000 data samples each second.
GRIIDC has consulted with multiple partners, including LADC-GEMM, the Center for the Integrated Modeling and Analysis of Gulf Ecosystems (C-IMAGE), and the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) to determine how data can be organized to facilitate submission to GRIIDC. The strategy for acoustic data is to partition datasets based on the stages of processing. For example, early post acquisition data such as track lines and sonar buoy locations, detection events, and interpreted data will be submitted directly to GRIIDC as they are useable and manageable in size. LADC-GEMM is GoMRI’s first acoustic-centric data consortium and GRIIDC will continue to work closely with them to help with the data sharing process.
These data will be compared with previously collected data at the same sites before the oil spill in 2007 and after the spill in 2010 to determine the long-term recovery of deep diving marine mammals. ASVs real time acoustic observations using towed arrays were able to detect sperm whales and dolphins during the summer cruise and data mining continues for exciting and rare recordings of beaked whales, Bryde’s whales, kogias, and orcas in the Gulf of Mexico.