SYMBIOSIS: A Holistic Opto-Acoustic System for Monitoring Marine Biodiversities

We present the SYMBIOSIS project to provide a mature and cost-effective autonomous optoacoustic prototype for the characterisation, classification and biomass assessment of six target pelagic fishes that are important to the fishing industry and reflect the health of the environment. The processing will be done in real time and the results will be sent to a ground station. The system will be fully autonomous with a battery life of three months without the need for recharging. The capability and maturity of the system will be demonstrated to TRL6 status at 3 marine and ocean anchorage sites.

SYMBIOSIS has been conceived as a mixture of acoustic and optical components. The acoustic unit will include a 2 X 3 element active underwater acoustic system to detect, classify, assess biomass and locate predefined pelagic fish within 500 metres. The optical component consists of a fixed frame of six underwater optical cameras and will perform classification based on machine learning and biomass assessment within 2-3 attenuation lengths in low light conditions. To save energy, the optical unit shall be activated after detection by the acoustic unit and use the results of the acoustic localisation. The system will be modular, both in terms of performance and composition, and will be adaptable to different scenarios and economic requirements.

Participating in SYMBIOSIS will be the University of Haifa, Israel (four groups); IMDEA Networks, Spain (two groups); Patavina Technologies, Italy; and EvoLogics, Germany. The academic partners have already developed all the technical components of the system and have demonstrated preliminary results in multiple sea experiments. The industrial partners have experience with the integration of acoustic and optical components for long-term offshore developments and is a leading company for the development of real-time underwater signal processing.

SYMBIOSIS: A Holistic Opto-Acoustic System for Monitoring Marine Biodiversities

Program and Call for proposals

Call: H2020-BG-2016-2017 / Topic: BG-14-2017: Monitoring and assessing fish stocks, other pelagic species and habitats with an automated, non-invasive, opto-acoustic system. / Deadline Id: H2020-BG-2017-1.

Start date


End date


Duration in months



1.602.460,00 €

Cost for PLOCAN

16.000,00 €

Total funded

1.399.960,00 €

Financed for PLOCAN

16.000,00 €


University of Haifa (IL)



Project website

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