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Press Releases

Barrow Strait Real-time Ocean Observatory and Canso Strait Test Bed

April 2017

The recent increases in the length of the Arctic open water season have allowed for increased activity in the region. To support this increase in Arctic marine activity, and to provide data for assimilation into ice/ocean forecast models, the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO) has been running a real-time ocean observatory at the east end of the Northwest Passage since 2009. As this ocean observatory was deployed in an area where BIO had maintained an ice/ocean monitoring array from 1998-2011, which included moored ASL Ice Profiling Sonars, a long baseline of measurements could be used to establish a relationship between the salinity of the upper water column in the late summer and the time of freeze-up (Hamilton, Collins and Prinsenberg, 2013).

In November 2015, BIO installed an ocean observatory a few kilometres to the west of the Canso causeway which connects Cape Breton to the rest of Nova Scotia. This ocean observatory is being used as a test bed for further developments in Ocean Observatory technology.

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ASL IPS and ADCP moorings

Enter ASL‘s Early Career Scientist contest to win the use of the autonomous scientific echo sounder for 3 months

February 2017

The goal of this open proposal program is to support the oceanographic research community by lending, free of charge, a battery-powered AZFP 125/200/455/769kHz or 38/125/200/455kHz mooring cage and battery for a 3-month maximum deployment period along with the support from ASL’s team of experts. This instrument loan program is open to early-career scientists and engineers, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and others involved in oceanographic or freshwater work.

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ASL Staff on deck

ASL's Ice Profilers Survive Collision with Ice Island and Continue Sampling for Two More Years

January 2017

Dr. Andreas Muenchow and his PhD student Pat Ryan from the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment at the University of Delaware were involved in an international collaboration to measure the fresh water flux through Nares Strait from 2003-2012. Nares Strait and Fram Strait are two of the main pathways for fresh water to exit the Arctic. The fresh water flux into the North Atlantic controls the amount of vertical stratification, and in turn the amount of deep water formation. This process has implications for ocean circulation, the transfer of heat from the tropics to the poles via ocean circulation, and in turn global climate.

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ASL Staff on deck

ASL assigned as sales representative for Teledyne Products

(January 2017)

ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. has been assigned by Teledyne Benthos to be the sales representative for British Columbia, Alberta and Alaska. This expanded role complements our already established relationships with Teledyne RD Instruments and Teledyne OceanScience. With the addition of Teledyne Benthos instruments, we now offer a broadened range of acoustic releases and modems, flotation, and locators for your metocean projects.

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ASL Staff on deck

Instrumenting and Testing a New Fishery Echosounder in an Ocean Glider

(December 2016)

NOAA's Beaufort Laboratory (National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and Southeast Fisheries Science Center) collaborated with the Center for Ocean Technology and College of Marine Science of the University of South Florida to instrument an echosounder into an ocean gilder to extend surveys of pelagic and demersal fishes associated with rocky reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast US Atlantic (figure 1).

ASL Environmental Sciences (ASL) supplied a purpose-built 200 kHz single-frequency scientific echosounder, a modification of ASL's proven Acoustic Zooplankton and Fish Profiler (AZFP), to Teledyne Webb Research (TWR) (figure 2). The acoustic transducer fits a standard “ECOPuck” housing used on the TWR's Slocum glider for other applications. Earlier this year, TWR completed the software integration of the electronics into the Slocum glider. The glider controls the operation of the echosounder and its configuration can be changed on-the-fly. Up to 3 frequency channels can be added to the AZFP electronics.

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ASL Staff on deck ASL Staff on deck

ASL assigned as sales representative for Teledyne Products

(November 2016)

ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. has recently been assigned by Teledyne RD Instruments and Teledyne OceanScience as the sales representative for British Columbia (BC), Alberta and Alaska. ASL already has a large equipment pool of Teledyne Marine products, which we use for our projects and lease out to customers. This expanded role builds on our longstanding relationship with Teledyne and brings our specialist aquatic knowledge to the sales environment. We work in both the commercial world and closely with research programmes such as Ocean Network Canada, bringing a rounded view to oceanographic studies.

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ASL Staff on deck

ASL Environmental Sciences has been leasing MetOcean instruments for 30 years (1987-2016).

(Sept 2016)

Back in the 80's we were leasing equipment such as the Neil Brown ACM2 acoustic current meter and the Aanderaa RCM4 rotor and vane current meter. This was before Doppler profilers were introduced by RDI. The RCM4's and our first CTD, an AML STD12+, recorded to tape. Yes, hard for you young ones to believe.

Now our lease pool contains over 50 TRDI ADCPs (75 through 1200 kHz, including StreamPro, RiverRay and Sentinel-V), about 100 water quality loggers and profilers (RBR and Seabirds, profilers and loggers, some with Turbidity, Dissolved Oxygen, and Chlorophyll), over 70 EdgeTech acoustic releases (PORTs, CARTs) and deck boxes, a dozen wave and tide pressure gauges, various acoustic pingers and transponders, almost 20 Ice and Zooplankton-Fish Profilers, various Iridium and ARGOS satellite beacons and RF/flashers, flotation and mooring cages and bottom frames, and Niskin bottles and grab samplers. See the complete listing on our web site: Equipment Lease

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Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy uses ASL's Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler

(August 2016)

The Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) purchased one of ASL's single frequency 125 kHz Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profilers (AZFP) autonomous scientific echosounder for deployment on their instrumented mooring platform in Minas Passage in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia.

FORCE is Canada's leading centre for in-stream tidal energy technology demonstration, located in the Bay of Fundy. The tidal flow through the Minas Passage boasts 14 billion tonnes of water, moving at speeds in excess of five meters per second. Understanding this powerful environment is critical to successful turbine design, environmental effects monitoring, and ultimately unlocking Fundy's enormous energy potential. “We need to understand what effects in-stream tidal technologies may have on the marine ecosystem,” said Tony Wright, general manager of FORCE. “If tidal energy is to grow to a larger scale, development must happen responsibly.”


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Conducting multiple frequency acoustic work over-the-side of small vessel with ASL's autonomous scientific echosounder AZFP in Saanich Inlet for Salmon Research

(June 2016)

The ASL Acoustic Zooplankton and Fish Profiler (AZFP) was originally developed in the late 1990's as an autonomous submersible scientific echosounder for observations of zooplankton and fish. Today, with minor accessories available from ASL such as the short pressure case and the modular mount, it is possible to use the AZFP from a small (or larger) boat when it is not used as part of a subsurface mooring.

Dr. Svein Vagle (figure 1) of Ocean Sciences Division, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, BC, V8L 4B2, Canada deployed a four-channel AZFP with 38, 70, 125 and 200 kHz channels over-the-side of a small vessel in Cowichan Bay, Saanich Inlet and Satellite Channel just off Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island, BC. The work was conducted to demonstrate the ability to conduct this kind of work for salmon research. The AZFP was operated autonomously and a small battery provided the necessary power.

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Canada Basin Experiment (CBEX)

(June 2016)

ASL instruments will soon be put to the test as part of a study aimed at collecting data on sea ice thickness in the Arctic Ocean. This summer, 6 of ASL's Model IPS-5 Upward Looking Sonar (ULS) instruments will be deployed for use in the Canada Basin Experiment (CBEX) to observe (or measure) sea ice thickness variability, which is funded by the US Office of Naval Research. The addition of ASL's ULSs will contribute to the Canada Basin Acoustic Propagation Experiment (CANAPE), taking place between 2016-2017 which is conducted by Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Click here to learn more about this study. .

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Support for AZFP binary data in Latest Echoview 7.1 release

(May 2016)

Echoview and ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. (ASL) are pleased to announce that support for ASL's Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) has been added to Echoview 7.1. ASL's AZFPLink software already has the ability to export AZFP data to an Echoview-compatible text file format for some time. With the new release of 7.1, Echoview is now able to read raw binary AZFP data files directly, bringing considerable performance and usability benefits.

Visit Echoview's web site (

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Timothy Whitton

ASL’s AZFP Award Program for Early-Career Scientists - Winner Announcement

(April 2016)

Dr. Timothy Whitton from the Centre for Applied Marine Sciences at Bangor University presented a compelling case in a field of other deserving applicants. He succeeded to draw our attention for his proposed study on the biological processes in areas of marine renewable energy development, winning ASL’s AZFP Award Program for early-career scientists! Dr. Whitton will get the use of a 125, 200, 455 and 769 kHz instrument for 4 months free of charge starting in September 2016. The focus of his research will revolve around understanding the physical and ecological characteristics and processes in the strong current, coastal areas off North West coast of Anglesey in Wales, and the effects that tidal and wave renewable energy development has on these processes.
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Timothy Whitton

Delivery of Ultra-deep Acoustic Zooplankton and Fish Profiler (AZFP) to The Institute of Oceanography and Global Change, Canary Islands, Spain

(March 2016)

ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. has successfully collaborated with the Institute of Oceanography and Global Change for the adaption of ASL’s Acoustic Zooplankton and Fish Profiler (AZFP) for use as a tool to study the deep water (1000m+) zooplankton and micronekton in the subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
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Update on the Uncabled Bio-acoustic Sonar Instruments of Ocean Observatories Initiative

(March 2016)

ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. is expected to supply the last of the Un-Cabled Bio-acoustic Sonar Instruments for the National Science Foundation-funded Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Coastal and Global Scale Nodes by May 1st, 2016. ASL will have supplied 16 Acoustic Zooplankton and Fish Profiler (AZFP) instruments for the Coastal Arrays and 20 individual instruments for the Global Arrays.
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ASL’s 4-frequency AZFP lease instrument was used to conduct zooplankton research in Pangnirtung Fiord

(February, 2016)

Sarah Fortune, PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia and guest student at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in collaboration with Dr. Steve Ferguson from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and University of Manitoba as well as LGL Limited and VDOS Global LLC, conducted several days of zooplankton backscatter observations in Pangnirtung Fiord with co-located Optical Plankton Counter data.
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Early Career Scientist Award Program for ASL’s Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler

(Nov 1, 2015)

The goal of this open proposal program is to support the oceanographic research community by lending, free of charge*, a battery-powered AZFP 125/200/455/769kHz or 38/125/200/455kHz mooring cage and battery for a 3-month maximum deployment period along with the support from ASL’s team of experts. Read Press release


2MHz Channel - ASL's Latest Addition to Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler Product

(June 17, 2015)

With its selection for inclusion in the US Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) in 2014, the Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler™ (AZFP) is rapidly becoming the global standard for autonomous scientific multi-frequency echosounders.

ASL has now added a 2MHz channel to its product, which already includes 38, 70, 125, 200, 455 and 769 kHz. " Read Press release


Tectorian of the Week: David Fissel of ASL

(February 18, 2015)

David Fissel of ASL Environmental Sciences was honoured with the title " Tectorian of the Week" by the VIATeC newsletter Tectoria. This newsletter sends out weekly updates about what's going on in Canada's hottest tech region.

"Our Tectorian of the Week is David Fissel, who serves as Chair & Senior Scientist of ASL Environmental Sciences and has been a longtime tech community supporter, booster and cheerleader. "


Ice Studies in Cook Inlet Alaska for an LNG Terminal

ASL Environmental Sciences has secured a contract for a 3-year metocean-ice study program in Cook Inlet, Alaska for the proposed Alaska LNG Project terminal site. This turnkey metocean program includes program management, a PSO (protected species observer), vessel, HSE lead, data processing and analysis, and engineering inputs.

During the summer and fall of 2014, ASL deployed 3 Ice Profiler™/ADCP moorings close to Nikiski, Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula. Each mooring consisted of an Ice Profiler, ADCP, CT, and OBS Turbidity and was mounted in ASL’s own designed bottom frame or a taut-line mooring.
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Satellite-based Study of Water Quality of Chilko Lake

ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. has successfully completed the LakeView Project, which was funded by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Earth Observation Application Development Program (EOADP) between 2011 and 2014. Lakeview's objective was to apply advanced remote sensing technologies to improve our understanding of factors that control freshwater survival of Sockeye salmon.

The project team led by ASL also included scientists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, University of Victoria, and C-CORE. Historical archived environmental and satellite data were used in conjunction with in situ data to understand the present and historical water quality of Chilko Lake. Chilko Lake sockeye constitute one of the largest salmon stocks in the Pacific Northwest, for which Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has maintained a 55-year record, including partitioned freshwater and marine survival.


ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. to provide Un-Cabled Bio-acoustic Sonar Instruments for Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI)

The Consortium for Ocean Leadership (OL) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) announced ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. will provide Un-Cabled Bio-acoustic Sonar Instruments for the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Coastal and Global Scale Nodes (CGSN) - WHOI, an implementing organization on the OOI Program, awarded an Indefinite Quantity Contract with a maximum total value of up to $1,681,375 over 2.5 years to ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. (ASL). Under the terms of the contract, ASL will supply up to 16 instruments for the Coastal Scale Nodes and up to 10 instruments for the Global Scale Nodes.

ASL will supply its off-the-shelf Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) instruments to meet the CGSN specific requirements. Four-frequency internally-powered, internally-recording AZFP echosounders with 38, 125, 200 and 455 kHz channels will be supplied for use on the Coastal Scale Node and operate for 7 months or longer on their own power. On the Global Scale nodes, each will have a dual set of AZFPs, each with 38, 70, 125 and 200 kHz channels (one will point up and the other will point down) to operate for up to 13 months without recovery. The first units are scheduled to be delivered in latter half of 2014.


ASL to Build an Ocean Data Geoportal for Greenland O&G

The Mineral Licence and Safety Authority of the Government of Greenland (MLSA) has contracted ASL Environmental Sciences to build and maintain a web-based marine geoportal from which sea ice, iceberg, metocean, and seafloor data from the east and west coasts of Greenland can be accessed by authorized parties. It will be a collaborative tool that will allow multiple users to interact with the system.

ASL started the design and assemblage of the database in January 2014. This first phase also includes data quality control and database system integration. The marine geoportal will be launched online in 2015. Geoportal maintenance and database updates will be carried out by ASL’s highly qualified team of ice and metocean specialists.

ASL’s decades of experience carrying out ice and metocean projects along with our cutting-edge software engineering team, and our familiarity with the end user (engineers and operational planners of oil and gas companies) enable us to provide innovative solutions to global environmental challenges.


ASL Builds Custom Acoustic Instrument for Deep Ocean Hydrothermal Vent Flow

ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. has been awarded a US$0.5 million contract by the University of Georgia to build a reciprocal transmission acoustic scintillation instrument to measure the flow dynamics of a hydrothermal vent plume for a research project led by Dr. Daniela Di Iorio of the Department of Marine Sciences. The instrument will be installed at the Ocean Networks Canada NEPTUNE cabled observatory at the Endeavour hydrothermal vent site, approximately 300 km off the west coast of Vancouver Island, in 2200m water depth. The deployment is scheduled for 2016, with logistical support from Ocean Networks Canada. The instrument will employ advanced signal processing techniques and 2-way acoustic transmissions to measure the rise velocity of the plume and its turbulent properties in near-real time. Long-term measurements of these properties, in conjunction with 3-dimensional plume models, will advance understanding of the interaction between hydrothermal vent fluids and the surrounding ocean and how that supports the unique ecosystem found at the vents.


Acoustic Zooplankton and Fish Profiler (AZFP), along with an ADCP characterized zooplankton in the N. Bering and Chukchi Seas.

There is a need to develop new techniques for the monitoring and study of zooplankton. One promising approach is the use of high resolution multi-frequency acoustics to understand vertical structure, abundance, and species composition.

In the summer of 2013, Drs. John Nelson of Seastar Biotech and Svein Vagle of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in collaboration with David Lemon and Jan Buermans of ASL Environmental Sciences, deployed an instrument package consisting of an Acoustic Zooplankton and Fish Profiler (AZFP), along with an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP), to characterize zooplankton communities and ecosystem structure in the N. Bering and Chukchi Seas.

The AZFP-ADCP package was put over the side of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier at stations that are part of an initiative known as the Distributed Biological Observatory (DBO), which is a multi-disciplinary collaborative project supported by the US National Science Foundation and Fisheries and Oceans-Canada, and led by Drs. Jackie Grebmeier and Lee Cooper from the University of Maryland.