In-situ identification of marine organisms using high frequency, wideband ultrasound

An Hoai Pham

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

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Reliable remote fish identification would be an important improvement in resource management as well as in commercial fishing. Optical and acoustical methods could be used either in combination or separately. However, the acoustical methods have better detection ranges than any known optical methods. Conventional acoustical methods use frequencies in the range of 10 to 500 kHz and give reasonable estimations of size distribution, if the species is known, but can only significantly support the determination of the actual species, if there are only a few known species available. It is expected that higher frequencies and broader bandwidths than used until now will give more information useful for fish species identification.
The objective of this Ph.D. study has been to develop a method to investigate the possibility of in-situ identification of fish with high-frequency, wideband ultrasound. The approach was to build a 1 MHz wideband single-element transducer system to obtain range profiles of fish, and to do fish species identification by comparing measured range profiles with libraries of reference range profiles as it is done in some radar systems used to identify aircraft. To do this, it is also necessary to investigate the properties of ultrasound backscatter of fish in the MHz frequency range to help the interpretation of the range profiles. Three case studies were investigated in this Ph.D. study.
The first case study was to investigate the ultrasound backscatter of fish in the MHz frequency range using empirical methods. Measurements using a BK Medical ultrasound scanner equipped with a dedicated research interface were performed on a saithe (Pollachius virens) and three cods (Gadus morhua) at different frequencies as well as angles between the center line of the transducer beams and the fish bodies. The frequencies are 2, 3.5, and 6 MHz. The angles are -30°, -15°, 0°, 15°, and 30°. The results show that even though there are variations, a scan of the ultrasound backscatter along a fish of a specific species contains patterns that are characteristic for that species. This is true at all frequencies in the low MHz range. The part of a fish that contributes most is not necessarily the swimbladder as the results indicate that in the low MHz frequency range bone structures, and skin surfaces are more important.
The second case study was to develop a method to generate simulated ultrasound images from computed tomography images to build simulated ultrasound range profiles of fish. It can be observed from the first case study that shadow effects are normally pronounced in ultrasound images, so they should be included in the simulation. In this study, a method to capture the shadow effects has been developed, which makes the simulated ultrasound images appear more realistic. The method using a focused beam tracing model gives diffuse shadows that are similar to the ones observed in measurements on real objects.
The last case study was to do measurements of ultrasound range profiles of free-swimming fish using a 1 MHz wideband single-element transducer system. The portable system consists of a Reson TC3210 1 MHz single-element transducer, a BlueView P900-2250 dual-frequency multi-beam sonar, and three Oregon ATC9K cameras on a fixture. The positions, orientations, and lengths of the fish were estimated by three-dimensional image analysis, while species were identified manually from the video sequences. Ex-situ experiments were performed on fish that have swimbladder (cod, European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata), and Atlantic horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus)) as well as on fish that do not have swimbladder (Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus)). There are indications that the variations in the range profiles seem to have some unique details to discriminate between species like mackerel and sea bream. In some cases the range profiles also indicate whether the head or the tail is closest to the transducer. It has also been shown that the surface areas of the fish are the most important elements that decide how much energy is backscattered in the low MHz frequency range.
In conclusion, the ultrasound backscatter from fish in the MHz frequency range was investigated empirically as well as by simulation and the 1 MHz wideband single-element transducer system was developed. The results data from the ex-situ experiments in a large aquarium tank presented in the last case study can be considered comparable to data obtained in in-situ experiments in a calm shallow sea area. The single-element transducer system can therefore be considered ready for preliminary in-situ experiments. Hereby the main objectives of the Ph.D. study have been reached.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKgs. Lyngby
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark
Number of pages171
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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