Monday, July 22, 2024

UVic PhD student desperately searching for lost scientific instrument


UVic PhD student Xavier Mouy has turned to social media to help find a custom-made scientific instrument that is crucial to his research.

The instrument, which was deployed off Roberts Bay in Sidney, was collecting data on fish communication, which could help the scientific community determine how different species of fish contact each other underwater.

“I’m researching fish communication through sounds so I try to catalogue the sounds that fish make and try to identify which species has which sound,” said Mouy.

“This instrument is built with several hydrophones – underwater microphones – that record the sound and are also able to localize where the sound comes from in space.”

Besides the state-of-the art hydrophones, the instrument has a fixed camera that Mouy designed himself that helps identify which species of fish are producing certain sounds.

(Where the instrument was first placed / Xavier Mouy)

Lost data

The scientific instrument was placed on the sea floor off Roberts Bay on January 22nd, and was supposed to collect data for one week. When Mouy and his team returned for it, they found the buoys that it was attached to were no longer floating on the surface.

The team decided to return after a few days with divers, but the divers found that the instrument was no longer in the area.

By now, Mouy suspects the instrument could be anywhere along the coast of Vancouver Island, but hopes that it remains on a beach or in the waters off Sidney.

“If we can’t find the instrument that will delay my PhD significantly,” he said. “I would have to find some way to purchase some of the instruments and do it again.”

“I will lose the data I collected that week which is unfortunate but not as bad as losing the instrument.”

Anyone who spots the instrument is asked to call or text Mouy at 250-885-2347, or email him at

Adam Chan
Former Staff Writer at Victoria Buzz.

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