Chelsea McGowan-Yallop

Affiliated PhD Student, Scottish Association for Marine Science

PhD Title: Sounding out zooplankton: using autonomous wideband echosounders to characterise polar ecosystems

Supervisors: Dr Kim Last (SAMS), Dr Sophie Fielding (BAS), Prof Finlo Cottier (SAMS), Prof Andrew Brierley (St Andrews)

Zooplankton play important roles in the carbon pump and in polar marine food webs, including fisheries. However, their abundance and distribution is difficult to quantify. Single-frequency acoustic data are widely used for this purpose, but species identification remains ambiguous.

Wideband echosounders measure backscattering continuously across a range of frequencies, making it possible to determine zooplankton species and size from characteristic acoustic features. They offer improved spatial resolution, enabling the tracking of individual targets within swarms. When deployed autonomously on moorings or UAVs, they also facilitate monitoring at larger temporal and spatial scales.

I am developing methods to identify backscattering from krill and copepods within wideband acoustic data, with the aim of furthering our understanding of migratory and intra-swarm behaviours in polar ecosystems.

CHASE is co-funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and by NERC.