Date on Honors Thesis

Spring 5-12-2023


Engineering Physics



Examining Committee Member

Dr Michael Siebold, Advisor

Examining Committee Member

Dr James Rogers, Committee Member

Examining Committee Member

Dr Michael Flinn, Committee Member


Bigheaded carp are an invasive species that overpopulate and compete with the native species of Kentucky Lake as well as many other North American aquatic ecosystems. The movement patterns of Bigheaded carp are being studied nationwide by the United States Geological Survey and multiple universities. These studies ultimately seek to control their spread and reduce or reverse the ecosystem destabilization caused by this invasive species. Such studies are currently conducted manually on Kentucky Lake by graduate students affiliated with the Murray State University (MSU) Biology Department and Hancock Biological Station, and these manual studies are an arduous and time-consuming effort. To perform these studies more efficiently, Engineering Physics students at MSU’s School of Engineering are developing an autonomous vessel that currently includes a small pontoon-style boat, a trolling motor, base electrical systems, and a ProNav GPS navigation module. Work is ongoing to integrate the ProNav module with hydrophones currently used to identify and track the tagged fish and a depth finder to allow for safe and effective navigation of the autonomous system toward tagged Bigheaded carp. This navigation will be directed by a mechanical arm containing a NEMA-17 stepper motor, a Vemco directional hydrophone, an ultrasonic transducer, and an onboard computer. Sensor selections for the hydrophone and depth finder, as well as analysis of the torque exerted on the hydrophone during operation, and the implementation of the transducer for the use of a depth finder, will be the focus of this paper. The sensor selection and torque analysis combine to form a critical step toward launching C-TAB (Carp-Tracking Autonomous Boat) in a bay and autonomously tracking and navigating toward a V16TP ultrasonic tag safely.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.