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JSATS

Acoustic Transmitters

JSATS transmitters (Figure 1) come in a variety of sizes, weights, and pulse rate intervals (PRIs) to accommodate a range of fish sizes, study durations, and study objectives. Each JSATS transmitter is encapsulated in an epoxy resin and outer Parylene coating and consists of a battery, a circuit board, and the transducer. Once activated, the transmitter emits a uniquely coded 31-bit binary phase-shift keyed signal, which provides more than 65,000 individual tag codes. The signal is emitted at a frequency of 416.7 kHz and at a source level of approximately 156 dB (relative to 1 µPascal and 1 m). The length of time between signals is determined by the user-defined, pre-programmed PRI. Pulsing signals use less energy, which increases the life of the transmitter compared to continuous signals. JSATS transmitters have been produced by several commercial vendors, including Advanced Telemetry Systems, LOTEK Wireless, Sonic Concepts, Inc.

PNNL recently developed several new transmitters including: 1) an extended-life small acoustic transmitter that can be injected instead of surgically implanted; 2) a long-life sturgeon tag; 3) a self-powered acoustic transmitter and an 4) eel/lamprey transmitter.

2008 Juvenile Salmon Acoustic Telemetry	System transmitters. JSATS transmitters are shown in relation to a PIT tag (bottom; Destron-Fearing Model TX1411ST) commonly used in the Columbia River basin.
Figure 1. 2008 Juvenile Salmon Acoustic Telemetry System transmitters. JSATS transmitters are shown in relation to a PIT tag (bottom; Destron-Fearing Model TX1411ST) commonly used in the Columbia River basin.

Injectable Acoustic Transmitter

The injectable acoustic transmitter (Figure 2; Patent pending; Deng et al. 2015; available through Advanced Telemetry Systems) can be injected into fish instead of surgically implanted. It takes about 20 seconds for the injection compared to 2 to 3 minutes for surgical impanation. It reduces the probability of adverse effects from implantation. It weighs 217 mg in air, is 15.00 mm long and 3.38 mm in diameter. New features include delayed start, the addition of a temperature sensor and the ability to transmit two alternating codes. The injectable tag has a mean lifetime of greater than 120 days at a 3-second ping rate, compared to 23 days of existing technology at the same ping rate. Its performance has been verified in field studies.

More information about injectable transmitter can be found at:

  • Deng Z. D., T.J. Carlson, H. Li, J. Xiao, M.J. Myjak, J. Lu, J.J. Martinez, C.M. Woodley, M.A. Weiland, and M.B. Eppard. 2015. An injectable acoustic transmitter for juvenile salmon. Sci. Rep. 5, 8111; DOI:10.1038/srep08111
  • Deng Z, JJ Martinez, H Li, RA Harnish, CM Woodley, JS Hughes, X Li, T Fu, J Lu, GA Mcmichael, MA Weiland, MB Eppard, JR Skalski, and RL Townsend. 2017. "Comparing the survival rate of juvenile Chinook salmon migrating through hydropower systems using injectable and surgical acoustic transmitters." Scientific Reports 7:42999. doi:10.1038/srep42999

More information the implantation can be found at:

  • Cook KV, RS Brown, Z Deng, RS Klett, H Li, A Seaburg, and MB Eppard. 2014. A comparison of implantation methods for large PIT tags or injectable acoustic transmitters in juvenile Chinook salmon . Fisheries Research 154: 213-223. doi:10.1016/j.fishres.2013.11.006
  • Walker RW, NK Ashton, RS Brown, SA Liss, AHA Colotelo, B Do Vale Beirao, RL Townsend, Z Deng, and MB Eppard. 2016. "Effects of a Novel Acoustic Transmitter on Swimming Performance and Predator Avoidance of Juvenile Chinook Salmon: Determination of a Size Threshold." Fisheries Research 176:48-54. doi:10.1016/j.fishres.2015.12.007
2008 Juvenile Salmon Acoustic Telemetry System transmitters.  JSATS transmitters are shown in relation to a PIT tag (bottom; Destron-Fearing Model TX1411ST) commonly used in the Columbia River basin.
Figure 2. Photos of the injectable transmitter and the PNNL-developed micro-battery used by the injectable transmitter: (a) the injectable transmitter; (b) the micro-battery standing next to a commercial 337 button-cell battery which is used by the existing commercial JSATS transmitters.

Sturgeon Transmitter

This transmitter (Figure 3; patent pending) is a small long-life acoustic transmitter for studying the behavior of aquatic animals, such as sturgeon, adult lamprey and adult eels. It has a length of 24.2 mm, diameter of 5.0 mm, and dry weight of 0.72 g. The transmitter generates a coded acoustic signal at 416.7 kHz with a selectable source level between 159 and 163 dB relative to 1 µPa at 1 m, allowing a detection range of up to 500 meters in quiet environments. The expected operational lifetime is one year at a pulse rate interval of 15 seconds. Features include configurable pulse rate interval & tag code, optional temperature measurement, alternating codes, and delayed start (hibernation mode). The new technology makes long-term acoustic telemetry studies of small fish possible, and has been deployed for long-term tracking of juvenile sturgeon.

Its applications include:

  • Small juvenile (< 1 year old) sturgeon.
  • Long term monitoring for adult fish such as adult lamprey and eel.
  • Noisy environment such as immediate tailrace due to higher source level.
  • Mobile tracking due to longer detection range.

More information about the transmitter can be found at:

    • Lu J, ZD Deng, H Li, MJ Myjak, JJ Martinez, J Xiao, RS Brown, and SS Cartmell. 2016. "A SMALL LONG-LIFE ACOUSTIC TRANSMITTER FOR STUDYING THE BEHAVIOR OF AQUATIC ANIMALS." Review of Scientific Instruments 87(11):114902. doi:10.1063/1.4967941
    Design of the sturgeon tag: (a) Computer-aided design drawing; (b) Photograph of an actual tag.
    Figure 3. Design of the sturgeon tag: (a) Computer-aided design drawing; (b) Photograph of an actual tag.

    Self-powered Transmitter

    We developed a self-powered acoustic transmitter (Figure 4; patent pending) that used a flexible piezoelectric beam to harvest the mechanical energy from the swimming motion of fish as the transmitter's power source. Two options of the transmitter designs were developed: Option 1 contains no battery and transmits signals as soon as sufficient energy for multiple transmissions is harvested, whereas Option 2 transmits continuously at a set ping rate and has a rechargeable battery that stores the harvested energy. The tag is 5 mm wide and 1 mm thick for the majority of the tag body. Dependent upon the size and anatomy of the fish of interest, piezoelectric beams of various lengths can be used in this transmitter. In 2015, prototype transmitters of Option 1 at two different lengths were successfully evaluated in live fish. The longer one (100 mm long, 1.05 grams in air) was implanted in a 53-cm-long rainbow trout and the shorter one (77 mm long, 0.80 grams in air) was implanted in a 38-cm-long white sturgeon. Both transmitters were implanted subdermally on the back of the fish near the dorsal fin. The implantation process took about 75 seconds. The successful development of this transmitter may significantly expands the capabilities in long-term fish tracking and studies of their migrational behavior.

    More information about the transmitter can be found at:

    • Li H, C Tian, J Lu, MJ Myjak, JJ Martinez, RS Brown, and ZD Deng. 2016. "An Energy Harvesting Underwater Acoustic Transmitter for Aquatic Animals." Scientific Reports 6:33804. doi:10.1038/srep33804
    Design of the self-powered tag (a) Computer-aided design drawing; (b) Photograph of an actual tag.
    Figure 4: Design of the self-powered tag (a) Computer-aided design drawing; (b) Photograph of an actual tag.

    Eel/lamprey Transmitter

    The smallest acoustic tag to date, this acoustic transmitter (Figure 5; patent pending) was designed specifically for studying juvenile eel and lamprey. This patent-pending tag has been tested in the lab with both eel and lamprey and will be tested in the field in 2017. PNNL is interested in partnerships with operators or agencies interested in further developing and demonstrating this technology. We would also like to explore applications to other key sensitive species such as American shad, delta smelt, and river herring.

    Specification Highlights

    • Weight: approximately 0.08 grams in air
    • Length: 12.0 mm
    • Diameter: 2.0 mm
    • Transmitter life: Prototype lasts 20 to 30 days at a 5-second ping rate interval
    Eel/lamprey Transmitter
    Figure 5: A CAD drawing and a photo of the eel/lamprey tag.

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