Fish Sensing Box

For the Fish Sensing Box project, researchers are developing a device that independently takes underwater samples for DNA analysis and observes with a camera and a hydrophone.

The box can be placed in fresh and salt water and collect a water sample up to 24 times and preserve genetic material for DNA sequencing in the laboratory. The device performs several functions simultaneously to monitor biodiversity of animal groups such as fish, marine mammals, crustaceans or worms.

Compared to dive observation and water sampling from a boat, the Fish Sensing Box allows data collection at more time points over a longer period of time. This can also be done in places where diving is not really possible, such as river mouths, locks or at great depth and when diving is not possible, such as in bad weather. This enables research at wind farms, where measurements can be carried out before, during and after construction.

Progress (September 2022)

The first periods of sea and river sampling have been completed. The next steps are to better establish the relation between the DNA and the fish count, and to determine the moment a fish swam past. The researchers also work on the automated linking of data from DNA analyses, images and sound recordings. Ultimately, researchers also want to distinguish individual animals (population genetics) and determine ages (DNA methylation), and connect a smaller version of the box to other research equipment, such as underwater drones.