SBIR Phase I: Autonomous Underwater Animal Tracker

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0944737
Agency Tracking Number: 0944737
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: IC
Solicitation Number: NSF 09-541
Small Business Information
PO Box 242065, Anchorage, AK, 99524
DUNS: 836306761
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Patrick Simpson
 (907) 563-3474
Business Contact
 Patrick Simpson
Title: BA
Phone: (907) 563-3474
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop an autonomous underwater animal tracker, an underwater robot that can follow a crab or fish for weeks to months at a time. Satellite tracking has allowed huge, rapid advances in understanding behaviors and requirements of large animals. The opportunity to extend tracking to a wider range of marine life using an autonomous underwater animal tracker is expected to yield similar advances. To produce this robot we will modify an underwater glider, making it capable of detecting, localizing and tracking a marine animal that has an acoustic transmitter attached to, or embedded in, its body. With over a dozen large tracking studies currently underway worldwide and more planned, there is tremendous commercial potential for a service-oriented business model to prosper. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is a much more detailed understanding of the behavior of the world?s fish that travel our oceans. As the world population grows, we continue to place greater strain on our planet?s resources. There is a need to gain more definitive answers regarding the impact humans are having on marine life, but collecting data from animals is a highly complex and expensive proposition. As an example, consider the recent Census of Marine Life, a global network of researchers in more than 80 nations engaged in a 10-year scientific initiative to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the oceans. Unfortunately, much of our knowledge regarding the distributions and migrations of our marine populations is based on independent samples often taken once per year, such as trawl sampling, or using stationary data collection nodes such as those deployed by the Census of Marine Life?s Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking joint effort.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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