Zurich, Switzerland (October 24, 2012)—Pacific Wild is using Barix Instreamer IP audio devices to encode audio from monitoring stations along the British Columbia shoreline.
Dedicated to protecting Canada's Pacific coast, non-profit conservation organization Pacific Wild has deployed audio monitoring stations at four points along the British Columbia shoreline to capture live sounds of humpback whales in their natural marine environment. The monitoring stations use rugged hydrophones-microphones designed for underwater listening and recording-to capture whale audio and other sounds of the ocean. Barix Instreamer IP audio devices encode the captured sounds live and stream the audio 24/7 over the internet to Pacific Wild offices.
According to Rob MacKenzie, a freelance IT engineer working with Pacific Wild, the Barix solution has raised live audio quality from the hydrophones. The previous audio system recorded 8-bit audio at 8kHz; the Barix solution digitizes the hydrophone-captured audio into 16-bit MP3.
"I was tasked with rebuilding the entire system," said MacKenzie. "I put up a new Linux recording system, added new monitoring systems, improved network availability and rebuilt the power systems for all the enclosures. But the Barix Instreamer has been instrumental to our research. We're capturing everything from loud identification calls to soft back-and-forth chatter. Just being able to record those very soft sounds proves the bit depth and audio quality we get from Barix."
"There is a lot of research going on with humpback whales, including male song and how it changes across large geographical areas," said MacKenzie. "We can monitor how one whale will start singing a slightly different song, and how it is passed along to other whales. We're also studying how ambient underwater noises and shipping traffic affect their behavior and ability to communicate. The Barix devices, in addition to providing audio, help us perform measurements, create graphs and understand trends related to all these sounds."
Pacific Wild expects to expand to 12 sites over the next five years, using Barix to encode and stream all live audio.
Pacific Wild live stream: