The Effect of Attenuation from Fish Shoals on Long-Range, Wide-Area Acoustic Sensing in the Ocean
Author(s)Duane, Daniel; Cho, Byunggu; Jain, Ankita Deepak; Godø, Olav Rune; Makris, Nicholas
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Acoustics is the primary means of long-range and wide-area sensing in the ocean due to the severe attenuation of electromagnetic waves in seawater. While it is known that densely packed fish groups can attenuate acoustic signals during long-range propagation in an ocean waveguide, previous experimental demonstrations have been restricted to single line transect measurements of either transmission or backscatter and have not directly investigated wide-area sensing and communication issues. Here we experimentally show with wide-area sensing over 360° in the horizontal and ranges spanning many tens of kilometers that a single large fish shoal can significantly occlude acoustic sensing over entire sectors spanning more than 30° with corresponding decreases in detection ranges by roughly an order of magnitude. Such blockages can comprise significant impediments to underwater acoustic remote sensing and surveillance of underwater vehicles, marine life and geophysical phenomena as well as underwater communication. This makes it important to understand the relevant mechanisms and accurately predict attenuation from fish in long-range underwater acoustic sensing and communication. To do so, we apply an analytical theory derived from first principles for acoustic propagation and scattering through inhomogeneities in an ocean waveguide to model propagation through fish shoals. In previous experiments, either the attenuation from fish in the shoal or the scattering cross sections of fish in the shoal were measured but not both, making it impossible to directly confirm a theoretical prediction on attenuation through the shoal. Here, both measurements have been made and they experimentally confirm the waveguide theory presented. We find experimentally and theoretically that attenuation can be significant when the sensing frequency is near the resonance frequency of the shoaling fish. Negligible attenuation was observed in previous low-frequency ocean acoustic waveguide remote sensing (OAWRS) experiments because the sensing frequency was sufficiently far from the swimbladder resonance peak of the shoaling fish or the packing densities of the fish shoals were not sufficiently high. We show that common heuristic approaches that employ free space scattering assumptions for attenuation from fish groups can lead to significant errors for applications involving long-range waveguide propagation and scattering.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering
Duane, Daniel et al. "The Effect of Attenuation from Fish Shoals on Long-Range, Wide-Area Acoustic Sensing in the Ocean." Remote Sensing." Remote Sensing (October 2019): 2464 © 2019 The Author(s)
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