Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Forecasting Infrastructure for Instream Tidal Energy

Project Lead Investigator: Dr. Richard Karsten, Department of Mathematics & Statistics, Acadia University

Project Partners: Acadia University, Dalhousie University, University of New Brunswick, Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Province of Nova Scotia, Province of New Brunswick

Project Total: $2.8 Million

Project Goal: This project will combine the necessary equipment and scientific expertise to carry out the research, generate the evidence and inform the critical decisions necessary to mitigate technological, market, environmental and regulatory risks of tidal energy development in the Bay of Fundy. This research has received a CFI Innovation Fund award to pursue two research themes: impact of turbines on the environment, and impact of the environment on turbines.


Project Announcement




CFI Fieldwork Infrastructure



3D Fish tracking and fish-turbine interactions

Atlantic sturgeon tagging with OTN
Atlantic sturgeon are one of several species to be tagged in the Minas Passage (Photo: Aaron Spares)

Project Lead: Dr. Michael Stokesbury, Acadia University

Cutting edge High Residency (HR) VEMCO fish tags engineered for high flow environments will be used to track Atlantic salmon, alewife, American shad and Atlantic sturgeon in the Minas Passage using an array of acoustic receivers.

The high resolution of these data will enable future 3D tracking of fish movement in and around the FORCE site. Tagging results will inform the development of models of fish behaviour near tidal turbines


Acoustic detection of fish and marine mammals

Project Lead: Dr. Anna Redden, Acadia University

Tritech Gemini imaging sonar will be deployed to assess the presence, vertical distribution and movement of fish and marine life at the FORCE test site. Simultaneous sonar datasets will be compared between sites with and without  turbines to asses critical near-field (<50m) turbine effects.

Other objectives include validating datasets from FORCE’s ongoing echosounder fish surveys, detecting and localizing marine mammals using passive acoustic recordings and simulating fish behaviour near tidal turbines.


Quantifying, characterizing and simulating tidal turbulence

Dalhousie researchers and RSI with equipment
Researchers from Dalhousie and Rockland Scientific International with Stablemoor equipment previously used to measure turbulence (Photo: Alex Hay)

Project Leads: Dr. Alex Hay (Dalhousie University) and Dr. Andrew Gerber (University of New Brunswick)

Mobile equipment will be used to quantify the spatial and temporal variation of flow and turbulence in Minas Passage. Equipment includes drone-borne video, the Jetyak for mapping wakes and bathymetric sidescan sonar for mapping seabed changes over time. Stationary measurement systems will be deployed to provide complimentary data. These include the Stablemoor/ MicroRider to measure the wake field  downstream of turbines throughout the tidal cycle.

High resolution regional and turbine-level CFD simulations of 3D turbulent flow will be developed, including unsteady forces and noise to quantify impacts on turbines. Simulations will be validated against measurements from the field.


Ocean forecasting for the Bay of fundy

Project lead: Dr. Richard Karsten (Acadia University)

Advanced research computing (ARC) equipment from ACENET will be used to run regional-level simulations of tides and tidal currents. Designs of turbines and environmental impacts will be assessed through extra-high resolution environmental simulations, in order to improve efficiency and reduce turbine impacts. The effects of weather, waves and turbines on tidal currents will be simulated to support the development of real-time forecasts of sea conditions in order to plan field campaigns and tidal turbine deployments.