Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

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Passive acoustic telemetry using coded transmitter tags and stationary receivers is a popular method for tracking movements of aquatic animals. Understanding the performance of these systems is important in array design and in analysis. Close proximity detection interference (CPDI) is a condition where receivers fail to reliably detect tag transmissions. CPDI generally occurs when the tag and receiver are near one another in acoustically reverberant settings. Here we confirm transmission multipaths reflected off the environment arriving at a receiver with sufficient delay relative to the direct signal cause CPDI. We propose a ray-propagation based model to estimate the arrival of energy via multipaths to predict CPDI occurrence, and we show how deeper deployments are particularly susceptible.


A series of experiments were designed to develop and validate our model. Deep (300 m) and shallow (25 m) ranging experiments were conducted using Vemco V13 acoustic tags and VR2-W receivers. Probabilistic modeling of hourly detections was used to estimate the average distance a tag could be detected. A mechanistic model for predicting the arrival time of multipaths was developed using parameters from these experiments to calculate the direct and multipath path lengths. This model was retroactively applied to the previous ranging experiments to validate CPDI observations. Two additional experiments were designed to validate predictions of CPDI with respect to combinations of deployment depth and distance. Playback of recorded tags in a tank environment was used to confirm multipaths arriving after the receiver's blanking interval cause CPDI effects.


Analysis of empirical data estimated the average maximum detection radius (AMDR), the farthest distance at which 95% of tag transmissions went undetected by receivers, was between 840 and 846 m for the deep ranging experiment across all factor permutations. From these results, CPDI was estimated within a 276.5 m radius of the receiver. These empirical estimations were consistent with mechanistic model predictions. CPDI affected detection at distances closer than 259-326 m from receivers. AMDR determined from the shallow ranging experiment was between 278 and 290 m with CPDI neither predicted nor observed. Results of validation experiments were consistent with mechanistic model predictions. Finally, we were able to predict detection/nondetection with 95.7% accuracy using the mechanistic model's criterion when simulating transmissions with and without multipaths.


Close proximity detection interference results from combinations of depth and distance that produce reflected signals arriving after a receiver's blanking interval has ended. Deployment scenarios resulting in CPDI can be predicted with the proposed mechanistic model. For deeper deployments, sea-surface reflections can produce CPDI conditions, resulting in transmission rejection, regardless of the reflective properties of the seafloor.




Acoustic telemetry; CPDI; Close proximity detection interference; Doughnut effect; Multipath; Prediction model; Range test; Vemco