The Southwest Fisheries Science Center embarked on a new $80M laboratory to house its three research divisions, headquarters and other NOAA programs. This project is highlighted by a 500,000-gallon indoor test tank.
The tank, which operates as an isolated fresh or seawater system and requires thermohaline regulation and anechoic tiles, will be used to develop acoustical-optical technologies for non-lethal surveys of protected and managed species and ship based surveys of schooling fish. The tank will also be used for experiments with marine mammals, turtles, fish and invertebrates. There is no other tank of this type in the world.
Ardurra designed the life support system for the test tank and adjacent holding pools. The facility requires extreme control of conditions in the tank. Features include rapid regulation of temperatures down to 0⁰C, minimal thermocline, diffusion of turbulence, isolation from sound and vibrations generated by process equipment and degassing of bubbles from remote underwater vehicles (ROVs).