Outmuscling the mussels

Outmuscling the mussels
Massawippi Blue Biologist Sabrina Leclercq and Director Laurence Langevin, Robonotic Co-founders Veronica Romero and David Caron, and Massawippi Blue Biologist Charles Plaisir (Photo : William Crooks)

A revolutionary collaboration for aquatic biodiversity protection in Massawippi Lake

By William Crooks

Local Journalism Initiative

Bleu Massawippi has announced July 3 an innovative collaboration with Robonotic, aiming to utilize artificial intelligence and an underwater robot to detect and control invasive exotic species in Massawippi Lake, such as zebra mussels. This initiative marks a significant step in protecting aquatic biodiversity, according to a same day release.

Founded in February 2023, Robonotic has selected Bleu Massawippi as a beta client, transforming Massawippi Lake into a proof-of-concept site for their innovative robotic technologies. The project benefits from the collaboration of various academic and financial partners.

The zebra mussel detection model developed at Massawippi Lake will be tested at Lake Témiscouata, which exhibits similar symptoms. Ultimately, the goal is to apply this technology to all vulnerable water bodies in Quebec.

Robonotic integrates robotics and artificial intelligence to create an underwater robot capable of detecting and controlling invasive aquatic species. The project aims to develop tools to control the early spread of zebra mussels in new basins due to increasing climate change. The team combines their passion for artificial intelligence, robotics, and high technology to offer an innovative automated solution.

Bleu Massawippi is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the ecosystems of Massawippi Lake and its watershed. Through constant monitoring of threats to water quality and the promotion of best practices based on scientific data, the organization raises awareness among users, municipalities, and government bodies. With its capacity for citizen mobilization, Bleu Massawippi works towards the sustainable protection of the lake, contributing to local quality of life.

Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) – ISMER Institute, represented by Réjean Tremblay, provides valuable support to the project, reinforcing its scientific expertise. Université de Sherbrooke (UdeS), represented by François Grondin, actively contributes to technological development. The MITACS Organization provides crucial financial support for the development of the artificial intelligence detection model.

Press conference

The announcement was made at a sunlit press conference by the picturesque Massawippi Lake on Massawippi Beach in Ayer’s Cliff. Lawrence Langevin, Director of Bleu Massawippi, opened the event with gratitude and a sense of purpose.

“Thank you for joining us on this beautiful, sunny day. The idyllic setting we’re in today not only showcases the natural beauty of our region but also symbolizes our commitment to preserving our environment and natural resources,” Langevin began. “We’ve chosen this location to highlight the importance of our announcement and to inspire everyone to protect our environment.”

Langevin emphasized the organization’s dedication to staying at the forefront of environmental conservation. “Today, we are excited to announce our partnership with Robonotic. At Massawippi Blue, we prioritize innovation and collaboration with inspiring, dynamic individuals who are dedicated to finding immediate solutions to environmental changes and invasive species.”

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