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SaildroneSaildrone, a provider of uncrewed surface vehicles and autonomous ocean data collection, together with RPS, a provider of protected species monitoring and mitigation compliance services, have announced the completion of the first phase of a project to create a monitoring network to detect, classify, and localise marine mammals.
The construction and operation of offshore wind farms can impact marine ecosystems. Many large whale species are highly dependent on acoustics to conduct important life functions and, therefore, sensitive to underwater noise.
Two Saildrone USVs equipped with underwater acoustic systems were deployed off the coast of Massachusetts to listen for North Atlantic right whales and other marine mammals. The saildrones were stationed in an area where several species of whales are known to be present. During the two-week deployment, the saildrones recorded numerous marine mammal vocalisations. Now, RPS’s acoustic scientists have the task of post-processing the data collected by Saildrone, identifying the types of calls detected and the species producing those calls. One of the tools that the analysts will use is RPS’s machine learning tool, Neptune, a predictive algorithm for detection of marine mammal vocalisations.
The project is supported by an award from the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium (NOWRDC) to facilitate offshore wind’s coexistence with wildlife and other ocean users and support other industry initiatives. 
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