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AquaticLidar: an eye through the water

Although large animals are relatively straightforward to track, small, mm-sized animals are generally not possible at all to follow, especially not in water. Through a cooperation with the Physics Department and the company FaunaPhotonics an inelastic hyperspectral lidar, a prototype of an AquaLidar has now been developed and tested in a 5 m long aquarium placed in our greenhouse.
Water LIDAR

The laser beam could distinguish a single zooplankter (2 mm), but also algal fluorescence and our results are now published in Laser and Photonics Review (see pdf to the right). Since the results were very promising a PhD student, Josefine Nielsen from DTU-aqua at Risø in Denmark, is hired and she will work with the AquaLidar both in Sweden and Denmark. Her initial major aim is to assess the movements of the parasitic copepod Salmon lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) around salmon farms, but we also envisage more basic science applications, for example assessing diel vertical movements of zooplankton in lakes and the ocean. Since the laser will be able to assess taxa specific movements and fluorescence, it may be possible to find out who is moving, when each taxa is moving and where they are moving. Hence, the AquaLidar has potential to provide unique understanding of movements and behaviour of small animals underwater. It also supports the old CAnMove legend that new technology create new questions and hypotheses…

/Lars-Anders Hansson

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Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden