Researchers Study how Whales ‘Talk’ with GeoSpectrum and V-Wing

The Back Story

Whales and other sea mammals have unique ways of communicating. But limitations in acoustic audio and the ability to lower the technology to appropriate depths have made it challenging for marine biologists to understand the language of the sea. Today, instrumentation advances enable scientists to hear underwater conversations with the clarity required to begin deciphering the sounds of the sea’s “gentle giants.” This capability also enables scientists to better understand mammal population size and migration paths in a given area.

The Strategy

GeoSpectrum Technologies Inc., a provider of underwater acoustic transducers and systems, wanted to advance this type of marine research further by deploying its cutting-edge hydrophone array to depths appropriate for listening in on marine mammal communications. The company selected Boston Engineering’s V-Wing towed underwater depressor to help solve the problem.

The Impact

GeoSpectrum uses the V-Wing to deploy its “M512” towed hydrophone, which is appropriate for marine mammal monitoring and other listening tasks. V-Wing model 460 has a small, 18” body for towing at 4-to-6 knots, which is ideal for maritime research. The V-Wing pulls the entire system down into the water column and is an important part of this towed hydrophone system.

The V-Wing’s three main benefits are:

  1. It is the perfect towed underwater depressor to deploy the hydrophone system below the waves and turbulent wave action.
  2. The hydrophone could be deployed into clear laminar water, which is better for the sound propagation necessary for acoustic listening.
  3. The V-Wing is able to deploy the product away from the towing vessel’s noisy motor and hull.

This application illustrates how Boston Engineering helps scientists and other customers use the right depressor for their requirements, and how Boston Engineering can collaborate with companies like GeoSpectrum to bring new solutions to market.

For more information about the V-Wing product line or Boston Engineering’s towed system development capabilities, please contact Roger Race at (339) 222-7148 or For additional GeoSpectrum information, please contact Arnold Furlong at