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WHOI Ocean Acoustics and Signals Lab


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Scientists and engineers in the Ocean Acoustic and Signals Lab (OASL) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) are conducting research that will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms of sound propagation and scattering in the oceans, as well the effects of a rapidly changing ocean environment on acoustic signals. Conversely, understanding how the measured acoustic signals themselves can be employed to characterize the physical properties of the ocean and its boundaries, as well as the marine organisms that inhabit the oceans, is one of the main goals of our laboratory.

Low-frequency (< 1kHz) sound waves are used to probe beneath the sea floor, to measure ocean temperature and currents, and to probe meso-scale physical features, such as internal waves, fronts and eddies. Mid-frequency (1-10 kHz) sound waves are used for acoustic communications, as well as to perform fish-resonance classification. High-frequency sound waves are used to measure temperature microstructure, small scale currents, wind-blown surface roughness, and the distribution and abundance of marine organisms such as zooplankton, squid, and fish. Many of the tools and techniques for ocean acoustics originated in OASL where they are still the focus of active research.

Underwater acousticians in OASL are involved in a wide spectrum of research areas including underwater signal processing and communication, acoustic imaging, sound scattering from the Arctic ice, bubbles, sediments, and from biologics. OASL researchers are also involved in marine mammal communication and localization studies.

History of Acoustics Research at WHOI
WHOI played an important role during WWII due to the acoustics research being done here. See our OASL/WHOI history archive for more information about the role acoustics research played during WWII and at WHOI, we have a number of fascinating manuscripts obtained from the WHOI archives and the History of Acoustics at WHOI presented at the Acoustical Society of America in May 2015 and written into a POMA manuscript in 2016.

Last updated: July 17, 2017

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