DEFPAM-G: DEep-sea Fish Passive Acoustic Monitoring by using Glider technology

User group PI: Eric Parmentier, Université de Liège, Belgium

Hosting infrastructure: SOCIB glider facility, Spain

Main Objectives

The overarching question of this project (DEFPAM-G) is: can we couple Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) of deep-sea fish populations to the glider technology? The underling hypothesis is that deep-sea fish, which live in a pitch black environment characterised by extreme pressure have evolved to use sounds to re-connect and communicate. Monitoring these sounds can provide important insights about deep-sea fish life history, cycles of activities and movements. We expect that Mediterranean deep-sea fish present modifications of the morphological structures enabling sound production due to decreasing food supplies and increasing hydrostatic pressure, as recently shown in deep-sea neobythitine fish of the Philippine Sea and of the North-Western Atlantic by the PI and colleagues and by other studies carried out on Macrourinae and Ophidiformes spp. In particular, we expect to find a spatial and depth variation of deep-sea fish sounds, highlighting spatial partitioning of breeding sites among species, as well as diversity and abundance variations related with depth.

Autonomous gliders are a relatively new technology for studying oceanography over large time and spatial scales. Worldwide, there has been only three reported attempts to apply PAM of fish populations to  glider technology, which were carried out at the West Florida shelf (USA) in relatively shallow waters (up to ca -300 m depth).

The specific objectives of DEFPAM-G are:

  1. Test the performance of the acoustic datalogger of property of the PI (i.e. BCB, Loggerhead) to pressure typical of depths of max. 970.
  2. Couple PAM to the glider technology for mapping spatial and depth patterns of deep-sea fish vocal populations in the Balearic Sea.
  3. Sound description, characterisation of spatial and temporal occurrence of sounds, correlation of acoustic features with environmental factors (such as temperature) and inferring of the potential vocal fish species. Final sound library creation.


The progress of the mission is open to the general public through SOCIB’s on-line deployment viewer  (also through Android and iOS mobile application: