Sonar Sampling Protocol and Data Generation
From 1981-1994, pelagic fish abundance data were collected along a set of transects in each of six lakes (Allequash, Big Muskellunge, Crystal, Sparkling, Trout, Mendota) using a Simrad 70 khz EY-M echosounder. The transducer was attached to a 4' aluminum towbody suspended in front of the boat and deployed at a speed of approximately 3-4 knots. Transects were run on two nights and two days in late summer in each year such that they intersected the deepest portions of each lake. The returning acoustic signal was recorded on audio tape (until ~ 1989) or DAT tapes (from ~ 1989-1994), as well as on paper charts. The recorded signal was analyzed with the deconvolution program developed by C.S. Clay (Rudstam et al. 1987, Stanton and Clay 1986, Jacobson et al. 1990) and with the HADAS post processing package by Torfinn Lindem (Lindem 1993, Rudstam et al. 1988) to estimate fish densities, by size, for each discrete depth in the lake. Most of the information collected from 1981 to 1989 was collected without recording the gain setting on the audio tapes and some tapes were recorded with too low gain resulting in too high signal to noise ratios. This made post processing difficult, however some data could be recovered by using the target strength of the dominant fish species to scale the recordings. Lars Rudstam analyzed data prior to 1989 using target strength estimated from fish caught in gillnets to calibrate the sonar information. Data and information was published on Trout Lake for 1983 and 1985 (Jacobson et al. 1990), Trout and Muskellunge Lakes for 1981 (Rudstam et al. 1987), on Mendota for 1981 to 1989 (Rudstam et al. 1993) and expanded to 1991 in DeStasio et al. (1995). For Crystal Lake, Rudstam generated data from 1981-1988 while Hrabik analyzed information from 1989-1995 (Sanderson et al. 1999). In 1995, the Simrad EY-M echosounder ceased to work reliably. In 1996, the LTER project purchased an HTI Model 241 echosounder with a 120 kHz split beam configuration. This echosounder was deployed in the manner described above on (Allequash, Big Muskellunge, Crystal, Sparkling, Trout, Mendota, Monona, and Fish Lakes). Ecoscape post-processing software, produced by HTI, was used to post-process data. Data were archived in the output format from HTI sounder software v. 1.0 and raw acoustic signals were stored on digital audio tapes. Prior to post processing of all HTI data, however, the computer containing the Ecoscape software ceased to work. No computer was purchased to replace it and the analysis, in 1998-9, also ceased. However, all the raw acoustic information is archived on digital audio tapes and processed on the HTI sounder software output files. After the laptop that operated the HTI system failed, there were no funds offered to replace it. No information was collected in 2000 because there was no laptop.