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Development of a Fisheries Acoustic Center

We request funds to purchase an integrated package for acoustic data collection, modeling, and visualization. Instrument components include two 4-frequency, digital acoustic systems for data acquisition, a large measurement tank for instrument calibration and parameter estimation, a portable soft, x-ray machine for organism anatomy measurements, and a computer workstation for data management, modeling, and visualization. When combined, these instruments will form a Fisheries Acoustic Center with enhanced computer power and memory; high resolution, multi-frequency acoustic measurement and calibration facilities; and state-of-the-art interactive acoustic modeling and visualization capabilities all housed at a new shore-based laboratory. This instrumentation package will make the Great Lakes Center at Buffalo State College one of the premier institutes in acoustic research and modeling. It will form a major research focus of the Principal Investigators over the next 5-10 years and will be a core instrument in academic course development and research recruitment at the newly reconstituted Great Lakes Center at Buffalo State College. Over the past three years, we have developed a new analytical approach to examine the spatial ecology and production of pelagic organisms in aquatic environments. We combine the strengths of underwater acoustics to measure fish abundances at high spatial resolution, bioenergetic models to measure fish consumption and growth, and spatial modeling to define the relationship between observed distribution patterns and causative processes. This approach has been used to assess the effects of fine-scale changes in the spatial pattering of biotic and abiotic habitat on the feeding ecology, growth, and production of fishes in freshwater and estuarine environments. Creation of a Fisheries Acoustic Center will complement ongoing ecological research by quantifying species-specific parameters used in foraging and spatial models. Th e types of ongoing and projected research that will use this equipment include the field of aquatic ecology (acoustic assessment of the abundances, production, distributions, sizes and behavior of fishes and invertebrates in systems ranging in size from small lakes to the Great Lakes and oceans), acoustical oceanography (acoustic measures of swimming speeds, target strength, and identity of acoustic scatterers) and spatial ecology (spatial modeling in two or three dimensions of the effects of fine-scale spatial and temporal processes on large scale phenomena). Training will be done at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels through a combination of individual 'on-hands' research experience, specialized courses, visiting scientists and remote internet access.

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