OTN technician Duncan Bates travelled to the Azores in early February to assist in the deployment of 13 OTN VR2W stations of the Azores Array. Five were deployed on the Gigante seamount, three on the Princess Alice seamount, and five along the Azores seamount. OTN’s receiver stations are interspersed with stations maintained by the Institute of Marine Research, University of the Azores (IMAR/UAz), since 2005. The joint array now consists of approximately 50 stations, 30 of which are located in deep (200-500 m) water. Three OTN VR4 stations are planned for deployment later in 2012.
During the deployment cruise, IMAR/UAz researchers tagged 25 mature blackspot seabream (Pagellus bogaraveo) with Vemco V13 tags. Other species studied in the area are wreckfish, devil ray, kitefin, and hammerhead and blue sharks.
Deployment of the OTN receiver stations follows upon a successful VR4 communication test phase during early March of 2011 hosted by IMAR/UAz in Horta, Portugal. OTN technician Duncan Bates and Vemco technician Tim Stone along with Pedro Afonso, Norberto Serpa, and Gonçalo Graça of IMAR/UAz conducted deep water VR4 commications and range tests. Very good communications and data offload were found up to depths of 500 m and out to horizontal distances of 1,000 m in spite of a dense layer of krill in the upper 100 m of the water column. The test mooring was comprised of an anchor, acoustic release, two VR4s, five VR2Ws, two DST tilt sensors, and two Vemco temperature–depth miniloggers on a single riser some 430 m in total length with Kintama floatation.
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Story by Susan Dufault, OTN Headquarters