Acoustic Tags

SCOPAC Minor funds contribution 2022-2024 \ Sacha Neill, Coastal Partners: £4,000


Coastal Partners are currently developing an innovative method of tracking the movement of coarse shingle material along the seabed to allow scientists to monitor the complex onshore/offshore transfer of material within the nearshore zone.

The method follows on from the successful Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracer pebble method currently used to track shingle material along the upper surface of the beach ( However, limitations in the RFID being detected underwater mean that once material moves off the beach, the pathways are no longer identifiable. By using acoustic tags instead of RFID, it is hoped that the movement of material moving between the nearshore and coastal environment will be understood in more detail, to allow a more holistic picture of the sediment transport pathways within the wider ebb delta system of the East Solent and further afield.

Following a successful trial study carried out by Coastal Partners, SCOPAC is contributing £4,000 in research funds towards a large pilot study being planned for Hayling Island in 2023 as part of the Flood and Erosion Risk Management Beach Management Plan for South Hayling. 

Aims & Objectives

The pilot study aims to:

  • Test the suitability of the acoustic receivers and tags within the nearshore environment over a longer time period of a few months.
  • Collect a timeseries of point data relating to the position of the tags as they move around on the seafloor
  • Understand how the results can be used and fed into wider sediment transport studies to provide an improved understanding of transport pathways within the nearshore zone

Expected Outputs

The output from this study will be an understanding of whether acoustic technology can be applied in the wider field to provide a ‘track’ of coarse material as it moves along the seabed. This information can hopefully then be used to understand whether the vital onshore/offshore transfers of material are still supplying material to keep our beaches stable and healthy as part of our Beach Management Plans and coastal defence schemes.