Passive Acoustics for Ocean Observations

#acoustics #ocean #science #oceanography

 This seminar will cover the science, engineering and field application aspects of using passive acoustics for ocean observations on small and large scales. The seminar is jointly presented by IEEE Oceanic Engineering, Signal Processing Society, Dalhousie Oceanography and Engineering.

  Date and Time




  • Date: 15 Oct 2019
  • Time: 11:45 AM to 12:45 PM
  • All times are (UTC-03:00) Atlantic Time (Canada)
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  • 1355 Oxford St.
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Canada
  • Building: Life Science Centre Oceanography Wing
  • Room Number: 3655

  • Contact Event Host


Christopher Whitt of JASCO Applied Sciences


Passive Acoustics for Ocean Observations

Passive acoustic monitoring is a powerful tool for studying the ocean. Long-term underwater acoustic recordings capture distribution of human activity and marine life and provide insight into changes in physical oceanography. Directed measurements help us understand the impact of activities ranging from geophysical surveys, shipping traffic to marine construction.
Several recent projects showcase the state of the art:
• The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program real-time acoustic monitoring system has been capturing mammal sounds and vessel source noise signatures for the last 3 years in the Strait of Georgia. The system produces automated measurements of commercial vessels entering the port.
• The Canada Basin Ambient Noise and Propagation Experiment (CANAPE) occurred 2016-2017 north of Barrow, AK, between the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Basin to quantify shallow and deepwater propagation and its variability and assess ambient noise on the shelf.
• The Environmental Studies Research Fund (ESRF) funded a 2-yr program aimed at describing the underwater soundscape and the occurrence of marine mammals off the Canadian Atlantic coast. The study area includes shallow and deep monitoring sites, and it extends from Dawson Canyon off Halifax, NS to Nain Bank on the Labrador shelf.


Christopher Whitt (S’95, M’02, SM’15) is a project engineer and project manager at JASCO Applied Sciences in Halifax, NS, Canada. Over the span of his career has been involved with many wide-scale ocean acoustic monitoring projects, particularly those involved with arctic programs, from equipment design and mooring preparation to participating in many arctic cruises.
Christopher is a registered professional engineer (P.Eng.) in Nova Scotia. He completed his undergraduate (B.Eng. 2000) and graduate degrees (M.Eng. 2010) at Memorial University in St. John’s, NL, Canada. Christopher’s early academic training started in digital communications and software engineering and continued to signal processing and broadband beamforming for acoustics. A long-standing interest in acoustics saw application to ocean technology upon joining JASCO in 2007.
With JASCO Christopher has designed and deployed moorings for everything from near shore to deep ocean basins. Significant projects include multi-year arctic measurements with acoustic dataloggers, measuring biological and shipping noise using cabled observatories (such as VENUS) and wireless systems (using Wi-Fi and Iridium), and integrating acoustic sensors into gliders and other autonomous platforms. A common theme through all these projects is automating the analysis of multi-terabyte datasets. Christopher is now the field support lead for JASCO worldwide, supervises training of all field staff, as well as mentoring engineering students. Currently, Christopher is focusing on long-term soundscape studies and ambient noise statistics.



1145 AM - Seminar Presentation

1215 PM - Questions and Discussion

1230 PM - Networking