Jobs Button PSU Button        

arl contacts

fluids, structural mechanics & acoustcs research areas

(Click Title to Expand)
Marine & Physical Acoustics

Marine & Physical Acoustics

Fluids, Structural Mechanics & Acoustics (FSMA) | marine & physical acoustics (mpa)


The ocean acoustic signal processing research goal is to derive robust sonar detectors and classifiers that make use of ocean acoustic models and limited knowledge of the random and/or uncertain environment, the target characteristics, and the sonar system parameters. A second goal is to train the next generation ocean scientists.

Research Rationale

Current sonar signal processors do not take into account the random and uncertain nature of signal propagation and scattering, target emissions or scattering, and sonar system performance in a real ocean environment.  Understanding ocean acoustic variability and uncertainty is being addressed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Defense Research Initiatives (DRI) on Capturing Uncertainty in the Common Tactical Environmental Picture. In addition, the Navy needs sonar signal processors that are able to incorporate models and knowledge of the uncertain and random undersea environment.  A key concept is that environment, target and sensor uncertainties are inexorably intertwined with the signal processor.

Signal Processing Chart

The oceans, covering 70% of the earth’s surface, remain a remarkable frontier on our own planet. While there are numerous ways of exploring its vastness, our research is focused on using sound as a means to probing its secrets. We develop theory and modeling approaches, backed/ motivated by experimental observations, to increase our understanding of the ocean environment and the behavior of marine mammals.

Ocean Acoustics include these research areas:

Environmental Acoustics

Sonar Rig
Advancing the understanding of  the physics
of propagation and scattering in the ocean
Signal Processing

Signal Processing
Developing robust sonar detectors and classifiers


Whale Fluke
Investigating sound production,  reception,
and behavior in animals

Bioacoustics research is an inter-disciplinary science focusing on sound production and reception in animals, the use of sound in the remote sensing of animals, and the relationship between sound propagation and environmental characteristics.

Frog Whale Surfacing

Specific areas of interest in our group include social communication, passive and active acoustic monitoring, hearing, and the impacts of noise on a range of species including marine mammals, fishes, amphibians, and terrestrial mammals. The overall goal of our research is to gain a greater understanding of how to utilize sound to study organisms and how the organisms themselves use and are impacted by sound.

NEW!  SeaBASS - A Marine BioAcoustic Summer School

SeaBASS Logo

The goal of SeaBASS is to provide the opportunity for graduate students interested in pursuing careers in marine bioacoustics to develop a strong foundation of both marine animal biology and acoustics, foster technical communication across disciplines, and develop professional relationships within the field. SeaBASS gives students an opportunity to learn from experts who will discuss topics not often offered at universities due to the relatively small demand at any one institution. Lecturers within the field of marine animal bioacoustics will provide half day seminars that describe fundamental aspects of underwater sound and marine animal behavior, summarize the present state of the field, identify current obstacles and challenges, and discuss important “hot topics” areas.

Each seminar will include an introductory lecture followed by group discussions or group projects to gain a more in-depth understanding of the issues. Structured social activities will also allow for students and research scientists to interact informally to develop lasting professional mentorships for guiding the next generation of marine bioacoustics scientists.

Click HERE for course information, class dates, eligibilty requirements, and an application form.