OPT teams up with WCS for wildlife monitoring

US-based wave energy developer, Ocean Power Technologies (OPT), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to advance wildlife monitoring in OPT’s PB3 PowerBuoy.

WCS plans to assess whether the sensors can be used to identify migratory patterns of marine species that have been tagged with acoustic transmitters in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The initial phase of the MoU consists of the attachment of a WCS sensor to OPT’s PB3 PowerBuoy, deployed off the coast of New Jersey, for a period to assess whether the PowerBuoy could be used to power WCS’ sensors, transmit data, and provide real-time data communication for acoustic monitoring of the movements of marine wildlife in certain waters.

George Kirby, President and Chief Executive Officer of OPT, said: “We believe, if this demonstration is successful, the combination of the PowerBuoy and underwater sensors could provide conservationists and scientists with a new level of real-time data not previously available.

“Integration of this capability into the PowerBuoy’s suite of sensors for other applications, such as ocean observing and defense and security, could help our understanding of the numbers and movements of animals while gathering ocean data and providing for the safety of the waters in the New York Seascape.”

Jon Forrest Dohlin, WCS Vice President and Director of the New York Aquarium, added: “This project with Ocean Power Technologies will allow scientists to monitor the movements of tagged sharks and other species. Using these data and visualizations, WCS can help the public understand the importance of our local waters as a migratory pathway for sharks and other marine species and to inform policies to ensure a safe place for these animals in the increasingly busy waters of the New York Bight.”