Effects of biofouling on performance of moored data logging acoustic receivers

M.R. Heupel, K.L. Reiss, B.G. YeiserC.A. Simpfendorfer

Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 6:327-335 (2008) | DOI: 10.4319/lom.2008.6.327

ABSTRACT: Biofouling on scientific equipment deployed in marine and estuarine environments can have implications for equipment performance, and the type and amount of data collected. We examined the effects of biofouling on the performance of data logging acoustic receivers deployed in shallow coastal waters off Florida. Five treatment types of receivers were examined including old and new versions of VR2 (Vemco Ltd) receivers with complete, partial, or no antifouling paint. Receivers were deployed for 2 mo, and acoustic signal detection rates examined. All receivers had some extent of biofouling during the course of the study, and performance was variable among treatment types. Old version receivers did not perform as well as new version receivers in all cases, and significant differences were apparent in detection rate and receiver performance metrics. Reductions in receiver performance over time occurred for most treatments and were likely due to settlement of biofouling organisms including barnacles, annelids, tunicates, and ascidians. Biofouling appeared to affect receiver performance over time and should be taken into account in acoustic telemetry studies.