Journal Article

Inferring fish orientation from broadband-acoustic echoes

Timothy K Stanton, D.Benjamin Reeder and J.Michael Jech

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 60, issue 3, pages 524-531
Published in print January 2003 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2003 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Inferring fish orientation from broadband-acoustic echoes

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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A new method has been developed for inferring the orientation of fish through the use of broadband-acoustic signals. The method takes advantage of the high range resolution of these signals, once temporally compressed through cross-correlation. The temporal resolution of these compressed signals is inversely proportional to the bandwidth, thus the greater the bandwidth the higher the resolution. This process has been applied to broadband-chirp signals spanning the frequency range 40–95 kHz to obtain a range resolution of approximately 2 cm from the original, unprocessed resolution of about 50 cm. With such high resolution, individual scattering features along the fish have been resolved, especially for angles well off normal incidence. The overall duration of the compressed echo from live, individual alewife, as measured in a laboratory tank, is shown to increase monotonically with orientation angle relative to normal incidence. The increase is due to the greater range separation relative to the transducer between the echoes from the head and tail of the fish. The results of this study show that with a priori knowledge of the length of the fish, the orientation could be estimated from the duration of a single, compressed broadband echo. This method applies to individual, acoustically resolved fish. It has advantages over previous approaches because it derives the orientation from a single ping and it does not use a formal, mathematical scattering model. Design parameters for applications in the ocean are given for a range of conditions and fish size.

Keywords: acoustic scattering; broadband acoustics; fish

Journal Article.  4398 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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