An Evaluation of Passive Acoustic Monitoring Using Satellite Communication Technology for Near Real-Time Detection of Tagged Animals in a Marine Setting

R.W. Bradford1, *, B.D. Bruce1, R.B. McAuley2, G. Robinson3
1 CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship. Marine and Atmospheric Research, GPO Box 1538, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 7001
2 Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories, Department of Fisheries, Government of Western Australia, PO Box 20, North Beach, Western Australia, Australia, 6920
3 Amirix Systems Inc, 211 Horseshoe Lake Drive, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3S 0B9

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© 2011 Bradford et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship. Marine and Atmospheric Research, GPO Box 1538, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 7001; Tel: +61 3 6232 5077; Fax: +61 3 6232 5000; E-mail:


Passive acoustic monitoring has become a common tool for monitoring tagged marine animals. Recent improvements in acoustic technology have addressed some of the limitations of the system; specifically, the need to manually download data and the time delay between detection and data analysis. Coupling a robust passive acoustic receiver with a satellite communications modem has allowed for remote download of detection log files on a time scale of the user’s choice from real-time onwards. This coupling has also allowed the user to maintain a watch on the receiver’s status and thus affect timely repair to avoid loss of data. Using satellite communication is a cost effective means of monitoring acoustic receiver hardware in remote or difficult to access areas. Because this system requires a surface buoy for the satellite modem, mooring design is critical and will require careful consideration of the local environmental conditions. It is recommended that future deployments of this system include a sentinel tag to aid system diagnostics when tagged animals are absent.

Keywords: Acoustic monitoring, telemetry, Iridium, white shark, Carcharodon carcharias.