ASL Edgewise Partnership

ASL partners with Edgewise Environmental

May 2024

ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. (ASL) and Edgewise Environmental Consultancy Ltd. (Edgewise) have partnered to offer the North American offshore marine energy sector a comprehensive full-service team of ocean specialists. With a cumulative 60+ years of ocean experience and extensive on-water experience on all three of Canada’s coastlines, we strive to deliver innovative multidisciplinary solutions for your marine energy project needs.

• Comprehensive physical oceanography studies
• Sea ice studies
• Biological oceanography studies
• Marine mammal and seabird observation
• Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM)
• Environmental Training

Julek Chawarski recovering AZFP mooring with BMSC

ASL’s Dr. Matthew Asplin joins the Marine Renewables Canada Board of Directors

January 2024

ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. congratulates its own, Dr. Matthew Asplin on his recent election to the Marine Renewables Canada Board of Directors to a three-year term (2023 – 2026). We also wish to extend our sincere congratulations to the other newly elected members and wish them all the best in working together to push Marine Renewable Energy projects forward in Canada!

Marine Renewables Canada is the national association for tidal, offshore wind, wave and river current energy, representing a membership of technology and project developers, suppliers, utilities, Indigenous organizations, researchers, and communities. Marine Renewables Canada’s mission is “To champion Canada’s growing marine renewable energy sector through advocacy, engagement, and education and expand market opportunities across the country and globally.”

Big Yellow Buoy

ASL Floating New Wave Measurement Opportunities

December 2023

 ASL is pleased to announce that it has recently acquired three Mesemar PBM-15 Polyethylene buoys for a major metocean study we are undertaking for a client project. These buoys are designed to the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) recommendations and are made from high-quality rotomoulded virgin polyethylene, filled with closed-cell expanded polyurethane foam. These are very suitable for deep-water sites where extreme weather requires a more robust buoy for metocean data collection. They feature the ability to add an internal ballast weight for greater stability and high shock resistance.     

Following their successful recovery in the spring of 2024, we plan to add these to our lease pool to offer to future clients, especially for measuring directional waves in offshore environments to support the development of offshore wind farms and other marine renewable energy projects where stable, reliable data collection over extended periods is required.    

Midge Fly hatch
Echogram of midge fly larvae vertical migration

Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) Used to
Monitor Diving Insects in Lake Malawi, East Africa

November 2023

Dr. Philip Matthews, Associate Professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia and winner of the 2023 annual Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) award, and Dr Maxon Ngochera, Chief Fisheries Research Officer, Malawi, have now completed their field work. This work centered on examining the unmatched diel migration of the aquatic larvae of the Chaoborus edulis, a midge fly that is abundant in Lake Malawi, East Africa.

The goal of this research was to use ASL’s multifrequency AZFP to better understand the physiology and ecology of Chaoborus edulis larvae, the deepest free-diving insects in the world. The AZFP revealed that these aquatic midge larvae dive 200 m into the hypoxic zone of the lake during the day to avoid fish predation. 

Julek Chawarski recovering AZFP mooring with BMSC

ASL Invited to Teach Hydroacoustics at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre

September 2023

Every year Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC), located on the west side of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, offers world-class, university-level courses on a variety of topics including biological oceanography. This summer this course was taught by Dr. Jennifer Putland and Dr. Louis St. Laurent of the University of Washington. As part of the course, ASL staff member Julek Chawarski was invited to teach students about hydroacoustics and how to analyze complex oceanographic data. Prior to this course an ASL Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) was deployed to collect data on krill and fish in the Barkley Sound area.

ANB Sensors

ASL is Now a Region Representative for ANB Sensors

May 2023

ASL is pleased to announce that we have entered into a product sales agreement with ANB Sensors of Cambridge United Kingdom. ANB Sensors have developed a next generation calibration-free, solid-state, multi-parameter pH, conductivity and temperature sensor. Unlike other pH sensors that require frequent re-calibration, the ANB sensors uses a patented technology that automatically carries out in-situ calibrations throughout the deployment. These sensors can be deployed individually or integrated into underwater vehicles, sondes or monitoring platforms using the optional dedicated integration kit. There are four available options for operating at 5 m, 50 m, 300 m or 1250 m depths. They are suitable for freshwater, saltwater and aquaculture appliactions and are designed to electrochemically inhibit the formation of biofilms.


ASL Represents WERA’s Ocean Radar, A System Suited for Surveillance Applications of Off-shore Infrastructure

March 2023

The topic of surveillance of civil off-shore infrastructure is increasingly becoming a significant issue globally. In response to this, WERA has provided an upgrade to its High Frequency ocean radar system to monitor ship activities far behind the horizon.

Several “WERA” ocean radar systems are located on the European coastline as well as the East and West Coasts of North America. The systems located at the German Bight, the Dutch North Sea coast, and the French and Italian Coasts are particularly well suited for this technical application of ship detection.

The WERA ocean radar, represented in Canada by ASL Environmental Sciences, is classified as a “dual-use” system because it is suited for oceanographic applications as well as over-the-horizon ship detection and tracking. It can be used for the surveillance of very large areas of the coastal ocean to identify suspicious ship manoeuvres. This technology should be of interest to all countries with infrastructure on their coast.

Sofar Spotter metocean buoy

ASL and DASCO Equipment Proudly Present Sofar
Spotter Metocean Buoys for Real-Time Oceanographic Data

February 2023

ASL is pleased to announce the addition of the Sofar Spotter metocean buoy to its oceanographic equipment product sales lineup. This complements the already growing broad range of innovative equipment offered by the ASL, DASCO Equipment Inc. partnership.

The Sofar Spotter metocean buoy (Figure 1) provides real-time wave, wind, sea surface temperature and barometric pressure from a compact, solar powered, rugged designed buoy built to withstand the harshest conditions of the open ocean. With 24/7 satellite and cellular connectivity, real-time data can be collected from anywhere in the world and displayed via Sofar Spotter’s dashboard and API. The buoy is affordable, compact and portable weighing only 7.45 kg and is about the size of a basketball.

Split-beam sonar echogram

ASL Conducts Field Trials of Prototype Autonomous Long Endurance Split-Beam Sonar

January 2023

ASL Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce the successful field trials of a new prototype split-beam sonar. The trials were conducted in the Saanich Inlet near the Institute of Ocean Sciences (IOS), Sidney, BC. This milestone marks the first such deployment of the prototype instrument, as part of a collaboration between researchers at Memorial University, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), and ASL. The field testing was done from a small IOS launch with Dr. Stéphane Gauthier, Fisheries and Oceans research scientist, Dr. Len Zedel, Professor and Department Head of Physics and Physical Oceanography at Memorial University, and graduate student Axel Belgarde, also of Memorial University. ASL staff members Dr. Steve Pearce and Graeme Thompson participated in the study.

Split-beam echosounders use multiple receive channels to determine target location within the acoustical beam. Unlike ordinary single-beam echosounders, split-beam echosounders may determine not only the range but also the direction of arrival of incoming signals. This facilitates accurate measurements of target strength. When detecting fish over multiple pings, a split beam sonar may track the fish and estimate its swimming speed and direction.


Acoustic Scintillation Flow Meter Used for Flow Measurements at the Beaucaire Bulb Turbine Hydropower Plant, France

January 2023

ASL AQFlow is pleased to announce that our Acoustic Scintillation Flow Meter (ASFM) is being used by the Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR) to conduct flow measurements at the Beaucaire Hydropower Plant on the Rhône River in France as part of an electrical production optimization program. This site generates approximately 210 MW of hydroelectricity from six bulb turbines. Figure 1 shows the instrumented frame that is lowered into the hydroelectric plant intake to the turbine and is equipped with an ASFM array that measures flow across 30 paths. Prior to this installation, the ASFM was successfully deployed at the Châteauneuf-du-Rhône, Montélimar-Henri-Poincaré- hydroelectric plant, another of CNR’s facilities on the Rhône River. The quality of the data collected at this site was considered very high and results were repeatable with an average uncertainty of roughly 0.4%.

David Fissel Fellow CMOS

ASL’s David Fissel Named a Fellow of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS)

October 2022

The Vancouver Island CMOS Centre and ASL co-hosted a reception and award presentation ceremony at the University of Victoria, University Club, Thursday October 6th to honour those that have contributed significant scientific achievements. At this ceremony, ASL’s David Fissel was named a Fellow of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS).

David Fissel was educated at the University of British Columbia, earning a B.Sc. in Honours Physics in 1971 and an M.Sc. in Physical Oceanography in 1975. His graduate research, carried out under Professor Steve Pond, was followed, in 1975, by working as a Physical Oceanographer at the Government of Canada’s Institute of Ocean Sciences. His initial studies focused on currents in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and circulation patterns in the eastern half of the Northwest Passage.

Midge flies

ASL Hires Amanda Dash for the Position of
Machine Learning and Computer Vision Specialist

October 2022

ASL is excited to announce Amanda Dash's appointment to the Machine Learning and Computer Vision Specialist position as a part of our team. She contributes over five years of experience in research in Machine and Deep Learning and over a decade of software engineering and development. Amanda will be bringing her expertise to various projects at ASL.

Before her appointment at ASL, Amanda completed a Computer Engineering Technologist diploma at Saskatchewan Polytechnique and a Bachelor of Software Engineering at the University of Victoria. She has published research on bird population estimates, video summarization, classification and segmentation of images during her studies. Additionally, her studies have taken her to Beijing, China and Iqaluit, Nunavut, on various internships.

Midge flies

ASL Announces Dr. Philip Matthews as the 2022 Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) Award Contest Winner

September 2022

ASL Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce Dr. Philip Matthews as the winner of the sixth annual Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) early career scientist award contest.
Dr. Matthews is an Associate Professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and runs the Comparative Respiratory Physiology and Biomechanics laboratory.

Dr. Matthews will be using a multi-frequency AZFP to understand the physiology and ecology of the deepest diving insect in the world—the Chaoborus edulis of Lake Malawi in southeastern Africa. He will be leading a team of two UBC graduate students, a fisheries research officer from Malawi and a UBC associate professor.

Lake Malawi is recognized as being rich in fish biodiversity with its waters teeming with more fish species than any other lake in the world. This lake is also home to Chaoborus edulis, remarkable Malawian midges that number in the billions and that regularly erupt from the lake surface forming vast twisting clouds that extend hundreds of meters above the lake. 

Mitchell Bonney

ASL Hires Mitchell Bonney for the Position of Remote Sensing Scientist

September 2022

ASL is pleased to announce the appointment of Mitchell Bonney to the position of Remote Sensing Scientist as part of our remote sensing team. Before joining ASL, Mitchell had been serving as a limited term Assistant Professor (Teaching Stream) at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), where he taught courses in remote sensing and spatial statistics. Mitchell completed his Doctoral degree at UTM earlier this year, and in 2017 completed his Master of Science at Queen’s University (Kingston), both in Physical Geography with a specialty in remote sensing.

Mitchell is passionate about applying remote sensing to answer environmental questions, having utilized multispectral satellite and aerial time-series to explore northern Canada climate-induced shrubification, Australian fire history, temperate forest growth-decline dynamics, and southern Ontario urban forest histories in comparison with social-demographic change. Mitchell has published his work in high-quality scientific journals, including Remote Sensing of Environment.

Dan Walters

ASL Hires Dan Walters for the Position of Data Scientist

June 2022

ASL is pleased to announce the appointment of Dan Walters to the position of Data Scientist as part of our remote sensing team. Dan previously served 20 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as a pilot before leaving to join the civil sector. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Honours Physics and a Master of Defence Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. Most recently he completed a Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University. Dan is an avid astrophysicist, with published papers in both dynamics and astronomy. Notably, he created a deep learning tool to help unravel the mysteries of galactic evolution. Dan brings a wide breadth of experience with the military, academia, and personal research and is eager to join the team.


Vancouver Island Students Receive Top Marks at the
2022 Canada-Wide Science Fair

June 2022

ASL would like to congratulate all of the participants in the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair and would like to recognize those that went on to receive recognition at the 2022 Canada-Wide Science Fair.

In April, ASL was proud to sponsor the fourth-prize winner of the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair. This prize was awarded to Nathan Hellner-Mestelman for his project entitled “Breakup is a Drag - Using a Lower CubeSat Orbit to Protect Space Infrastructure,” a study on how to reduce space debris by adjusting satellite orbits using a cost-efficient delivery system. Nathan, along with six other Vancouver Islanders (see results were selected to continue on to the nationals.

Vancouver Islanders Nathan Hellner-Mestelman, Evan Papps, Katherine Morley and Eunio An all won awards at the Canada-Wide Science Fair.

Devin Ireson

ASL Hires Devin Ireson for the Position
of Software Developer and IT Specialist

May 2022

ASL is pleased to announce the appointment of Devin Ireson to the position of Software Developer and IT Specialist. Devin brings over a decade of experience as an IT systems analyst to ASL, along with a recently completed B.Sc. in Computer Science. He will be responsible for support of ASL’s IT infrastructure and to design, test, code, analyze, and maintain software programs and applications.

Devin recently earned his Bachelor of Computer Science degree with a specialty in software systems from the University of Victoria, the culmination of an educational journey that began with the laddered part-time computing program at BCIT.

Julek Chawarski

ASL Hires Julek Chawarski for the Position
of Biological Oceanographer

April 2022

ASL is excited to announce the appointment of Julek Chawarski to the position of Biological Oceanographer as a part of our team. Julek contributes nearly a decade of experience in fisheries science, with expertise in forage fisheries and biological oceanography in coastal and deep ocean ecosystems. He will be responsible for developing consulting services for our ocean monitoring clients and will develop new tools for hydroacoustic studies of aquatic ecosystems.

Previous to his appointment at ASL, Julek completed a Masters in Marine Biology at the University of Maine. During his studies he designed experiments to investigate the effects of marine protected areas (MPAs) on the recovery of groundfish stocks in the Gulf of Maine.  He trained in acoustic analysis and provided new insights into the spatial distribution of herring spawning in inshore waters of Maine. Soon after completing his Masters, Julek attended Memorial University of Newfoundland where he is currently completing his doctorate in Fisheries Science.

AZFP Award-2022

Enter ASL‘s 2022 Early Career Scientist Contest to Win the Use of an Autonomous Scientific Echo Sounder for Three Months

April 2022

The goal of this program is to support the oceanographic and limnological research community by lending, free of charge, a calibrated battery-powered Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler™ (AZFP™) (either 125/200/455/769 kHz or 38/125/200/455 kHz configuration), plus mooring cage and battery for a three-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.

Nain field deployment

AZFP-ice Deployed Near Nain, Labrador to Examine
Ice Characteristics and Biological Activity in a Dynamic Environment.

March 2022

A prototype of the AZFP-ice was deployed in the coastal waters approximately 40 km east of the town of Nain, Labrador, an area used for Indigenous traditional hunting and fishing. This deployment was carried out by ASL in collaboration with the Inuit Nunatsiavut Government in October 2021 and will be recovered in the fall of 2022. The AZFP-ice combines the technology of the Ice Profiling Sonar (IPS) with its ability to detect ice draft along with the calibrated Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) echosounder to examine zooplankton, fish, bubbles and suspended sediments within the water column. 

Sidney Port Marina

Newly Awarded Challenge: Develop a Canadian
Coastal Zone Information System

March 2022

Westcoast Oceanography Inc. (operating as ASL Environmental Sciences Inc.) is pleased to announce that it was recently awarded a research and development contract ($167,989.91) through the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) program to develop a proof of feasibility for Public Services and Procurement Canada, in response to the Canadian Coastal Zone Information System (CCZIS) challenge. ASL has partnered with Trailmark Systems Inc. of Victoria, B.C. to develop a proof of feasibility that will showcase a robust, interoperable, and user-friendly web-based geographic information system. Our two companies will collaborate to develop a detailed report, outlining how a functional prototype would address the goals outlined in the ISC challenge.


Acoustic Scintillation Flow Method Mentioned in Recent American Society of Mechanical Engineers Performance Test Code Document

January 2022

The acoustic scintillation method for measuring turbine discharge, used by ASL AQFlow’s Acoustic Scintillation Flow Meter (ASFM) has been mentioned in the latest American Society of Mechanical Engineers Performance Test Code (ASME PTC 18-2020) for Hydraulic Turbines and Pump-Turbines. Although the method has not yet been adopted into code, it is being evaluated for future code releases. Acoustic scintillation is considered to be a permissible technique to measure hydroelectric turbine discharge when those testing understand and agree on its use, or use this technique in conjunction with a code-approved method. A detailed explanation of how the method works and guidance on its use appears in the nonmandatory appendix C section of this code document.  


ASL Introduces the AZFP-ice, the Next Generation of
Upward Looking Sonars for Ice-Infested Waters

November 2021

ASL Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce the combining of our Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) with our Ice Profiling Sonar (IPS) to provide a comprehensive solution for ice thickness detection and water column profiling of fish, zooplankton, bubbles and suspended sediments in ice-infested waters. The AZFP-ice is the next generation in high resolution, low power, continuous recording subsurface instruments that are capable of long-term deployments of a year or more.  

Built into the ice profiling sensor is a logarithmic detector which resolves both strong and weak acoustic targets. In practice, this means that the signal from strong reflections such as the water–air interface at close range doesn’t saturate, and weak targets such as the water–ice interface at long range are still measurable.

AZFP-right whale-study

North Atlantic Right Whale Predator–Prey Relationship
Study Using an Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler

October 2021

Once abundant throughout the North Atlantic, the North Atlantic right whale population has been reduced to fewer than 360 individuals and has been designated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as a critically endangered species. During the whaling era, these whales were exploited by the thousands for their plentiful oil and baleen. Now they face new challenges of ocean regime shifts linked to human-induced climate change. In the Gulf of Maine and the Scotian shelf regions, these regime shifts have resulted in less favorable foraging environments for the right whales. 

To investigate the impact of these ocean regime shifts on the North Atlantic right whale, Kimberley Davies and her team from the University of New Brunswick along with collaborators that include the New England Aquarium, the Canadian Whale Institute, Dalhousie University and snow crab fishers in the Gulf of St Lawrence, have been deploying ASL’s Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP). 


Acoustic Scintillation Flow Meter Installation Replaces 
Over-Velocity Detection System at BC Hydro’s Wahleach Project

September 2021

ASL AQFlow’s Acoustic Scintillation Flow Meter (ASFM) has been installed at the BC Hydro’s Wahleach project near Hope, BC, as a replacement to an existing Over-Velocity Detection System (OVDS). Hydroelectric operations use these detection systems in order to detect if the tunnel or penstock downstream of the intake has a leak or rupture. In such cases, intake gates are closed to prevent uncontrolled release of water that can be potentially dangerous for the public and may cause damage to properties and infrastructure.

The ASFM uses ultrasonic pulses across an intake to analyze variations in turbulence to measure flow. These data are used to produce real-time current velocities and discharge volumes. At the Wahleach site, two independent 4-path ASFM instruments—acoustic beams consisting of transmitter (Tx) and receiver (Rx) pairs—were mounted to a removable frame that was lowered into an intake slot.   ...

POAC-2021 POAC-2021

Deployment of an Enhanced Ice Profiling Sonar (IPS) in Seasonally Ice-covered Coastal Waters of the Nunatsiavut Region of Labrador, Canada

James Bartlett of ASL presents at the Port and Ocean Engineering Under Arctic Conditions Virtual Conference (POAC 2021)

June 2021

The Ice Profiling Sonar (IPS) is an example of an Upward-Looking Sonar (ULS) that provides continuous (1-2 Hz), high-resolution (1 cm vertical, ~1 m horizontal) measurement of ice draft. ASL has recently completed a second field test of a prototype IPS with a logarithmic detector module, the IPS5L. The IPS5L was deployed in seasonally ice-covered waters near Nain, Labrador in collaboration with the Nunatsiavut Government via a through-ice deployment from February - October 2020 ...

Click here to view the presentation.


Canada’s Ocean Supercluster Announces Real-time Bubble Diffuser Aeration Entrainment Monitor Project

(Real-time monitoring for bubble systems in aquaculture fish farms)

June 2021

On June 10, 2021, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announced four new projects with a total value of over $3.5 million, including the Real-time Bubble Diffuser Aeration Entrainment Monitor Project. This BC-led project will develop a real-time entrainment monitoring system for aquaculture fish farms in complex coastal ocean environments.

The Real-time Bubble Diffuser Aeration Entrainment Monitor Project is led by ASL Environmental Sciences, who will develop services and products for the installation and maintenance.

Click here to see video of Canada's Ocean Supercluster project announcement.

The Salish Sea Community Guardians Invites Community Collaboration to Enhance the Salish Seas Herring Spawning Recovery 

May 2021

In recognition of the importance of the Pacific herring, the Salish Sea Community Guardians, an organization dedicated to all aspects of stewardship for Salish Seas First Nations, have created a cross-cultural action plan. This action plan would provide First Nations traditional herring spawning habitat recovery and protection in key herring spawning areas in waters around southern Vancouver Island. Part of this action plan involves the construction of two types of habitat curtains suspended below floating docks and log booms. These curtains, made from either synthetic materials or hemlock and cedar branches, provide ideal spawning sites for the depositing of herring eggs.

ASL Environmental Sciences Inc., in collaboration with the Salish Sea Community Guardians, deployed an Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) on March 17, 2021. This multi-frequency echosounder was placed in a traditional herring spawning location in Saanichton Bay near Victoria B.C. 

(Drone footage supplied by Geoff Mullins, GKM Research)


ASL Environmental Sciences and DASCO Equipment Enter Product and Service Partnership 

March 2021

ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. is pleased to announce its product distribution and service partnership with DASCO Equipment Inc. DASCO is the Canadian representative for several leading international ocean technology manufacturers, most notably Teledyne Marine and has predominantly operated in eastern Canada. ASL is a leading manufacturer and service firm in the ocean technology and oceanographic marketplace with its head office in Greater Victoria, BC. With this partnership, clients have access to over 75 years of oceanographic experience offering a complete range of oceanographic instruments and services under one umbrella. Here are some of the organizations that this partnership represents.


ASL Environmental Sciences Presents ClearSignal Antifoulant Coating by Severn Marine Technologies

January 2021

Biofouling in marine environments is one of the primary limiting factors that will determine the deployment duration of platforms and instrumentation and dictate the service schedule that is required. ClearSignal, manufactured by Severn Marine Technologies, is a clear, non-toxic coating, that resists biofouling. The product acts as a durable, permanent, foul-release coating that is designed to last the life of the equipment it is protecting. Its effectiveness is a result of the non-stick properties of the materials in the proprietary coating. Unlike traditional antifouling systems which rely on active biocides and whose effectiveness degrades with time, ClearSignal retains its effectiveness over time. 

EcoLight AZFP Buoy to Monitor Light and Under-Ice Zooplankton

November 2020

An international team of scientists led by Dr. Giulia Castellani of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) and Dr. Jeremy Wilkinson of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have developed a project called EcoLight which uses an Autonomous Biological Echo Sounding Buoy (ABES) to continuously measure changes in the light field and associated biological responses under sea ice. The buoy is designed to be frozen into the ice and drift for deployment periods of one to two years collecting data on a pan-Arctic scale.

Rhonda Reidy Awarded NSERC Grant in Partnership with ASL to Measure Baleen Whale Prey in British Columbia 

November 2020

The University of Victoria Ph.D. candidate Rhonda Reidy has recently received funding for her project “Modifying an Acoustic Zooplankton and Fish Profiler for quantitative spatial sampling of baleen whale prey in British Columbia”, co-supervised by Dr. Laura Cowen and Dr. Stephane Gauthier. This funding comes from an NSERC Alliance grant awarded to Laura Cowen.Reidy studies baleen whale foraging dynamics. North Pacific humpback whales, in particular, are increasing in abundance and, in BC, are increasingly struck by vessels and entangled in fishing gear. New tools are required to observe their interactions including collecting data on the humpback whale diet. The goal of a partnership between Reidy and ASL Environmental Sciences (ASL) is to collaborate on a modified ASL Acoustic Zooplankton and Fish Profiler (AZFP).

ASL Equipment Used to Monitor Algal Blooms in Eutrophic Lake

October 2020

Over the last three years, ASL Environmental Sciences has provided data loggers to a study being conducted at Swan Lake in Victoria, BC. In an ongoing monitoring program, Rob Bowen of Diversified Scientific Solutions has been looking at the relationships between dissolved oxygen, nutrients and cyanobacteria blooms.

The explanatory power of combining DO loggers, the AZFP with its ability to track position and abundance of cyanobacteria, as well as nutrient testing, gives valuable insights into the dynamics that led up to this fish kill, a problem that’s on the rise globally.

The Use of Mooring-based Measurements for Marine Polar Ecosystem Research

ASL Contributes to the ECO Polar 2020 Magazine Edition 

Marine Polar Ecosystem Research is challenging due to the remoteness of the study areas and the presence of sea ice, impeding ship operations, throughout most of the year. Because of this, basic scientific understandings of the ecosystem in Polar areas has lagged that of more temperate and tropical waters. In these areas, especially in the Arctic, the physical and biological regimes are changing faster than all other portions of the world’s oceans. As the physical regime changes, e.g. regional air temperatures increase and sea ice retreats, there are major impacts on the biological regime, most notably in the introduction of invasive species and the threats to natural species, due to habitat changes, up to and including the iconic polar bear species.

Read full article:
Digital magazine format
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ASL Announces Dannielle Eager as the 2020 Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) Award Contest Winner 

September 2020

ASL Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce Dannielle Eager as the winner of the fifth annual Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) early career scientist award contest. Dannielle is presently studying at the University of Plymouth at Devon, UK at a postgraduate level in the school of Biological and Marine Science.

Dannielle’s research will focus on the influence of dynamic seamount oceanography on pelagic biota in the tropical Indian Ocean, with support from the Garfield Weston Foundation, Bertarelli Foundation and the University of the Highlands and Islands. 

Hydro-acoustic Studies of Eulachon Fish Distribution Related to Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project

August 2020

ASL Environmental Sciences (ASL) was chosen by Hemmera Envirochem Inc. and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (port authority) to perform a hydroacoustic study of eulachon fish (Thaleichthys pacificus) distribution in the vicinity of Deltaport Terminals off the mouth of the Fraser River, BC. To support the development of the Dredging and Sediment Discharge Plan that will form part of the Construction Environmental Management Plan of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project (project), the port authority has committed to developing eulachon-specific mitigation that will be used during dredging activities. A pilot study was developed to examine the efficacy of hydroacoustic techniques in detecting adult eulachon. 

Enhanced Group Structure of Waves in Ice -
Linear or Nonlinear Process?

( Johannes Gemmrich, Todd Mudge and Jim Thomson)

Presented at EGU General Assembly 2020 

Online May 4-8 2020 

In this presentation, waves in sea ice were examined using spectral analysis. Data for this study were collected over a four year period at two sites located in the Chukchi Sea. Wave height, frequency, steepness, period and attenuation were used to consider linear and nonlinear processes.

Enter ASL‘s 2020 Early Career Scientist Contest to Win the Use of an Autonomous Scientific Echo Sounder for Three Months

May 2020  

The goal of this program is to support the oceanographic and limnological research community by lending, free of charge, a calibrated battery-powered Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler™ (AZFP™) (either 125/200/455/769 kHz or 38/125/200/455 kHz configuration), plus mooring cage and battery for a three-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.

To apply to this program, send a summary proposal (maximum length four pages) of your study and description on how it would benefit from the use of the AZFP's capabilities. CVs and letters of support are acceptable in addition to the four-page proposal. See full details by reading link to the press release below.

ASL Environmental Sciences Assists with Oceanographic Data Collection for Labrador Marine Research and Monitoring 

May 2020  

In a collaborative effort with the Nunatsiavut Government and Dalhousie University to measure ice, water current and other physical and biological properties of the marine environment, ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. contributed a prototype Log Ice Profiling Sonar (LogIPS), and on February 15th 2020, the sonar was deployed on a taut-line mooring in the waters off Nain, Nunatsiavut, Labrador. The mooring also contained an acoustic doppler current profiler (ADCP) as well as data loggers for chlorophyll, turbidity, temperature-salinity and dissolved oxygen. The mooring was deployed through a hole cut in the sea ice, with an open-water recovery planned for later this year.

The deployment was part of a project run by the Nunatsiavut Government to collect information about the sea ice environment on the Labrador coast using a variety of data sources and multimedia communication tools.  

Update on Laura Hobbs and Roland Proud, AZFP Recovery Lake Victoria, East Africa 

April 2020  

In 2019, Dr. Laura Hobbs (University of Strathclyde and Scottish Association for Marine Science) and Dr. Roland Proud (University of St. Andrews) won the ASL Environmental Sciences annual early career scientist competition to obtain, free of charge, an Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) to study fisheries ecology in Lake Victoria (East Africa). As was proposed, the instrument was deployed in the deepest part of the lake (c. 70 m of water depth) on the 30th November 2019.

Dr. Proud and Prof. Andrew Brierley (University of St. Andrews) returned to Uganda in February 2020 to recover the AZFP. As part of the instrument recovery trip, Dr. Proud and Prof. Brierley ran an acoustics course with 20 fisheries scientists from the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO, Uganda), Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TaFIRI, Tanzania), Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI, Kenya), and the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFiRRI, Uganda). 

SeaCycler Interactive Deep Ocean Observatory Adds ASL’s Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler to Payload 

March 2020  

The SeaCycler is a long-term interactive deep ocean observatory that is equipped with a large payload of oceanographic instruments. It was a key part of the VITALS project that was examining atmospheric gas exchange and deep convection in the Labrador Sea (Atamanchuk et al., 2020). In collaboration with Dr. Dariia Atamanchuk of the University of Dalhousie and Dr. Maxime Geoffroy of the Marine Institute Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland, an ASL Environmental Sciences’ Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) (multi-frequency 38/70/125/200 kHz) has been added to the instrument payload to continuously record acoustic backscatter in the water column.

Sea trials are being conducted in preparation for a long-term deployment of the SeaCycler in the Labrador Sea planned for September of this year.  

Instrument with team

Airborne Hyperspectral Survey and Mineral Mapping in South Greenland

December 2019  

ASL Environmental Sciences (ASL) in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada has, following a tender process, entered into a contract with the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Government of Greenland. Under this contract ASL will process and analyze a large amount of airborne hyperspectral data in order to produce mineral maps for the Gardar Province in south Greenland. 

Machine Learning for Analyzing Data from ASL’s Echosounders 

November 2019  (article as it appears in the Journal of Ocean Technology 2019)

ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. (ASL), University of Victoria, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) recently completed the first phase of a collaborative research initiative to develop automated analysis tools for data collected by ASL’s multi-frequency echosounder, the AZFP (Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler). This phase of the research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) through an Engage Grant. Following very promising results, the second phase of this initiative, co-funded by ASL and the NSERC Engage Plus Program, is now underway.

ASL Announces Dr. Laura Hobbs and Dr. Roland Proud as the 2019 Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) Award Contest Winners

September 2019

ASL Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce Dr. Laura Hobbs and Dr. Roland Proud as winners of the fourth annual Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) early career scientist award contest. They are both Scotland-based marine ecologists, specialising in bioacoustics. Dr. Hobbs is associated with the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and the University of Strathclyde, and Dr. Proud is with the University of St Andrews. Together, they plan to deploy the AZFP in Lake Victoria, East Africa.

ASL Hires Dr. Matthew Asplin for the Position of Metocean and Arctic Project Manager

August 2019

ASL Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Matthew Asplin to the position of Metocean and Arctic Project Manager. Dr. Asplin brings a diverse set of multidisciplinary research skills in meteorology, sea ice, and oceanography, and has over 15 years of experience in these fields. He will be responsible for project management and client liaison tasks for projects across these disciplines, and will also be active in responding to business development opportunities and academic collaborations, as well as expanding new consulting services to ASL's present clients. Dr. Asplin will also be active in strategic planning, marketing and actively participate in scientific conferences and workshops.

Dissolved Oxygen Loggers From ASL’s Lease Pool Reveal Diurnal Dynamics of Eutrophic Lake

July 2019

Dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations and their fluctuations are vital to the aquatic health of eutrophic lakes. As oxygen production through aquatic plant-based photosynthesis is largely dependent on the sun, DO concentrations, especially in the upper water column, vary significantly over a 24-hour period. Because of these variations, spot measurements, if taken on a daily or weekly interval, could be misleading depending on where the measurement occurs on the diurnal cycle. An ASL's lease pool DO logger was used to measure the details of the DO diurnal cycle at Swan Lake, Victoria, BC.

Dr. Gary Borstad Receives Val Shaw Memorial Award from the Canadian Remote Sensing Society

June 2019

We are pleased to announce that ASL's Dr. Gary Borstad recently received the Val Shaw Memorial Award in recognition of his career- long contribution and lifetime achievements in practical remote sensing applied to natural resource management. This award was presented at the 40th Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing in Fredericton, New Brunswick on June 25th, 2019. The Val Shaw Award was established in 1990 in memory of Val Shaw, an executive with the Bercha Group and a strong proponent of remote sensing in Canada.  

Enter ASL‘s 2019 Early Career Scientist Contest to Win the Use of an Autonomous Scientific Echo Sounder for Three-Months

April 2019

The goal of this open proposal program is to support the oceanographic research community by lending, free of charge, a battery-powered AZFP (either 125/200/455/769 kHz or 38/125/200/455 kHz configuration), plus mooring cage and battery for a three-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. 

ASL Tours College of Marine Science USF Slocum Glider Laboratory

March 2019

Dr. Steve Pearce and Jay Milligan of ASL Environmental Sciences recently visited Chad Lembke at the College of Marine Science laboratory at the University of South Florida (USF). This lab was the first group to integrate an ASL Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) into a Slocum glider for oceanographic biological surveys (read Sea Technology article). Christopher DeCollibus, Product Line Manager of the Slocum Gliders of Teledyne Marine was also in attendance. This was an opportunity for ASL staff to meet clients face to face to discuss the technologies, work on fine-tuning and instrument interfacing and to focus on research potentials. 

ASL Hires Martin Taillefer for the Position of Senior Project Manager and Business Development

March 2019

ASL is happy to announce the appointment of Mr. Martin Taillefer to the position of Senior Project Manager and Business Development. Martin has been working in the fields of oceanography, hydrography, ocean acoustics and underwater warfare for over 25 years. A naval officer for over 20 years, the latter 10 years were spent as an Underwater Warfare Director and Oceanographer for the Pacific Fleet. Martin oversaw the implementation and operations of decisional systems, acoustic modeling and operational systems for the fleet. 

Computer Vision-based Detection of Fish From Acoustic Backscatter Time Series

February 2019

ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. is excited to announce the recent awarding of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Engage Grant for the development of new automated or semi-automated analysis tools for Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) data. This collaboration will be led by Dr. Alexandra Branzan Albu's research group from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of the University of Victoria along with ASL acoustic and remote sensing specialists. AZFP data will be provided by Dr. Stéphane Gauthier of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, who will also bring expertise in the areas of fisheries acoustics, data analyses and interpretation. 

Acoustic Detection of Oil in the Water Column Using an Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler

January 2019

Laboratory experiments were carried out in July 2018 with ASL Environmental Sciences' multi-frequency Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement's OHMSETT Oil Spill Response Research and Renewable Energy Facility outdoor saltwater wave tank (Figure 1). These experiments were conducted with the collaboration of the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with funding provided by the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). BSEE has managed the Ohmsett in Leonardo, New Jersey. 

Acoustic Detection of Subsurface Oil

January 2019

Marine sensitivities to hydrocarbon pollutants pose serious impediments to offshore hydrocarbon production-related activities. Autonomous underwater vehicles or ship-towed bodies are a means of combining the long-range detection capabilities of acoustics, with the identification ability of point sensors. The AZFP is a multiple-frequency, calibrated scientific echosounder, with low power consumption, making it well-suited to operation on autonomous vehicles. A recent experiment in a large test tank using an AZFP with 4 high-frequency channels (455, 769, 1250 and 2000 kHz) has shown that subsurface oil is detectable with the AZFP. 

MUD: The Next Generation in Acoustic Backscatter Measurements

December 2018

A new tool to measure both sediment concentration and sediment size is being built by ASL Environmental Sciences. The Multi-frequency Ultrasonic Device (MUD™) is based on ASL's successful Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP). The MUD and AZFP echosounders can be configured with up to four frequencies ranging from 38 kHz to 2 MHz.

In May 2018, Dr. Gwyn Lintern of NRCan, in collaboration with university researchers, deployed a three frequency (200 kHz, 769 kHz, 1250 kHz) MUD in Bute Inlet, BC. All three frequencies recorded turbidity flows without saturating.

Sea Level Variation Study Using GPS and an Ice Profiling Sonar in the Disko Bay Region of Western Greenland

November 2018

Dr. David Holland of New York University, in collaboration with Dr. Natalya Gomez at McGill University, is leading an investigation of sea level variations in the Disko Bay region of western Greenland. A shore-based system compares the direct arrival of GPS signals to the signals reflected off the sea surface to obtain sea level. The presence of sea ice and icebergs complicate the measurements. A shore-mounted camera provides information about the surroundings and the presence of sea ice and icebergs when there is daylight. Underwater sonar devices can supplement the camera-based observations and eliminate the dependence on daylight to characterize the ice. 

Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler Used to Detect Fish and Plankton Movement Between Arctic Marine and Lagoon Environments

October 2018

The North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management (NSB-DWM) deployed a multifrequency (38, 125, 200 and 455 kHz) ASL Environmental Sciences’ Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) in the nearshore Beaufort Sea at an Arctic lagoon pass near Utqiagvik/Barrow, Alaska (USA), in July 2018. The data retrieved from the AZFP will be used to determine the presence of fish and plankton under ice and their movements between the marine and lagoon environments especially during freeze-up and break-up seasons. 

ASL Hires New Acoustics Scientist Dr. Steve Pearce

September 2018

ASL is happy to announce the appointment of Dr. Steve Pearce to the position of acoustics scientist. Dr. Pearce brings over a decade of experience in underwater acoustics R&D to the ASL team. He earned his Ph.D. at Simon Fraser University in 2014, where his studies focused on sidescan sonar signal processing to suppress multipath interference in the context of a multi-angle swath bathymetry array. The key contributions of his thesis were the introduction and analysis of simple and effective beamforming methods applied in a novel context. These methods are designed to attenuate multipath interference while preserving the seafloor return, and the effectiveness of these methods was established through theory, simulation, and numerous field studies.

ASL Announces Its 2018 Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) Award Winner

September 2018

ASL Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce the winner of the third annual Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) award. Dr. Lilian Lieber, Research Fellow at Queen's University Belfast, has been selected to receive the use of one of ASL's four frequency (38/125/200/455 kHz) AZFPs for her proposal entitled Drivers of Predator–Prey Coherence in Energetic Environments. With this award comes the free of charge use of a four-frequency AZFP including batteries and a mooring cage for a deployment period of up to three months. Also included with this award is support from ASL's team of experts.

New Application of Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler to Examine the Onset of Hypoxia Using Cyanobacteria as Marker

August 2018

Urban freshwater environments are often being exposed to nutrient loading through groundwater movement and runoff of potent fertilizers. These nutrients impose imbalances that influence biological and chemical processes. The impacts are generally negative, causing onsets of algal blooms and widespread fluctuations in oxygen levels. Through an ongoing monitoring program, Rob Bowen of Diversified Scientific Solutions has been conducting surveys at Swan Lake (Victoria BC) and in this study, a new application of the AZFP will be tested to examine hypoxia by using the cyanobacteria Aphanizomenon flos-aquae as a marker

Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler Food Web Study of Keystone Arctic Marine Species

June 2018

The Central and Arctic Division of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has plans to deploy an array of three multi-frequency (38, 125, 200 and 455 kHz) Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profilers (AZFPs—manufactured by ASL Environmental Sciences) in the Amundsen Gulf in 2018. Data retrieved from the array will be used in conjunction with winter and summer net sampling programs to better understand the early life history of Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) and the zooplankton copepod Calanus spp., both of which are keystone species in the Arctic marine food web.

NOAA to Use ASL’s Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler in Proposed Strategy to Examine Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Krill in Antarctic

May 2018

Climate changes have altered the distribution, intensity and timing of the krill fishery in Antarctic waters when compared to historical data. The fishery season, for example, has expanded as both sea-ice extent and distribution have declined. This expansion leads to a potential negative impact on ecosystem health such as known areas of krill-dependent predators.

NOAA Fisheries Service are preparing to launch a study to determine the spatial and temporal distribution of krill in the Antarctic. The study uses gliders, moorings, camera systems and predator tagging.

Enter ASL‘s 2018 Early Career Scientist contest to win the use of the autonomous scientific echo sounder for 3 months

April 2018

For the third year in a row, ASL is happy to announce its early career scientist award program for ASL’s Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP). The winning applicant will receive, free of charge, a battery powered AZFP complete with a mooring cage for a 3-month maximum deployment period with support from ASL’s team of experts.

To apply to this program, send a summary proposal (maximum length 4 pages) of your study and description on how it would benefit from the use of the AZFP's capabilities

Raft-mounted Multifrequency Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler with Cellular Modem Yamada Bay, Japan

March 2018

The National Research Institute of Fisheries Engineering (NRIFE, Kamisu) of the Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency (FRA, Yokohama) has deployed an ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. multifrequency Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP 125, 200, 455 and 769 kHz) in Yamada Bay, 450 km north of Tokyo since 2013. The collected data are being used to understand seasonal variations of zooplankton in the water column.

The AZFP data aids in the scheduling of the release of hatchery reared juvenile salmon in an effort to increase fish survival.

Comprehensive Glider-Based Ecosystem Study in Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea

February 2018

On January 9th, 2018, a post-doctoral researcher and undergraduate student of Dr. Grace Saba (Assistant Professor, Rutgers University, Center for Ocean Observing Leadership) deployed a Teledyne Webb Slocum Glider with an integrated ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) 38, 125 and 200 kHz instrument in the Terra Nova Bay (Ross Sea, Antarctica). The deployment lasted 3 weeks and the glider was recovered on January 31, 2018.

The purpose of this deployment was to obtain mesoscale and sub-mesoscale measurements of hydrographic processes and simultaneous biological distributions and abundance.

ASL Environmental Sciences #1-6703 Rajpur Place V8M 1Z5 Saanichton, BC

Phone: +1 250-656-0177
Email: [email protected]