In the northwest Pacific Ocean, off the Sanriku coast of Japan, convergence between the Tsugaru Warm Current (TWC) and the cold Oyashio Current (OC) results in the formation of highly dynamic oceanographic features that promote high biodiversity and generate hotspots for a range of commercially important fisheries. However, their effects on local biodiversity over much smaller spatiotemporal scales ( < 1 km) remains unclear. With the development of acoustic technology in recent years, echo-sounders are increasingly being used to conduct high-precision fishery resource assessments and detect small-scale variability in the oceanic thermohaline structure. In this study, we conducted a simultaneous hydrographic and dual-frequency echo-sounder survey to discriminate oceanographic features and marine organisms in the TWC-OC confluence zone. Echograms of acoustic backscatter measured at 38 kHz detected similar oceanographic features that were obtained from our hydrographic survey observations, but these features were less pronounced in the 120 kHz echograms. The dynamic oceanographic structure in the TWC-OC zone returned a large amount of backscatter, making it difficult to identify marine organisms from the scatter. The frequency differences of volume backscattering strength (SV) were, however, able to distinguish oceanographic structures from zooplankton detections. Outcomes from this study highlight the difficulty of distinguishing between hydrographic and biological detections in dynamic oceanographic environments. Further research into the acoustic frequency characteristics of heterogeneous hydrographic features will help better understand how species distributions are affected, so that the acoustic method can be used to provide more accurate estimates of species abundance.
Lu, Zhen; Hasegawa, Daisuke; Tanaka, Takahiro; Spencer, David M.; Okazaki, Yuji; and Okunishi, Takeshi
"Splitting The Scatter: Distinguishing Marine Organisms From Oceanographic Structures Using Acoustic Monitoring,"
Journal of Marine Science and Technology: Vol. 29:
2, Article 13.
Available at: https://jmstt.ntou.edu.tw/journal/vol29/iss2/13