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Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Acoustic Remote Sensing and its Application in Marine Science

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION The study-unit provides an introduction to the basic concepts, instruments and operation of acoustic-based methodologies used in marine scientific research, and the processing and interpretation of the data they generate.

The structure of the study-unit involves:
1. Theory of underwater acoustics (basic principles of acoustics, sound propagation, interaction of sound with seafloor and water column)
2. Acoustic remote sensing instruments and their operation:
a. Single beam and multibeam echosounders;
b. Side scan sonars;
c. Seismic reflection profiling;
d. Acoustic Doppler Current Profiling;
e. Remotely Operated Vehicles and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles;
f. Underwater navigation and tracking.
g. Survey planning
3. Acoustic data processing, visualisation, integration and interpretation.
4. Advanced acoustic data analyses strategies.
5. Applications in marine science.

Study-unit Aims:

- To give a grounding in the basic principles and core concepts of seafloor surveying and exploration.
- To introduce a range of state-of-the-art geophysical, visual and seabed sampling instruments used in seafloor exploration.
- To introduce the skills required to acquire, process, manipulate, integrate, visualise and interpret seafloor data sets using commercial and open-source software.
- To demonstrate the wide range of industrial and academic applications of seafloor exploration, with a focus on marine geosciences.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be:
- able to explain the basic theory of acoustics and acoustic propagation;
- able to describe the acoustic measurement systems used for sensing the underwater environment;
- able to evaluate the role of acoustic measurement systems with respect to other types of measurements used underwater;
- familiar with the state-of-the-art instruments and techniques used in acoustic remote sensing and their applications in marine science.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- design an acoustic remote sensing survey and report results professionally
- acquire, integrate and interpret a range of acoustic remote sensing data types
- apply industry-standard software to process, visualise and analyse acoustic remote sensing data
- select and apply appropriate acoustic remote sensing data acquisition methodologies for marine scientific applications

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Blondel, P. and B. J. Murton (1997). Handbook of Seafloor Sonar Imagery. Chichester, John Wiley and Sons.
- Kearey, P., Brooks, M. and Hill, I. (2002). An Introduction to Geophysical Exploration. Oxford, Blackwell Science Ltd.

Additional readings will be suggested at the end of each lecture.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisite Qualifications: Background in Environmental or Environmental Sciences, Geography, Engineering or Physics

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation No 20%
Examination (1 Hour and 30 Minutes) Yes 80%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
MSc (Research) and PhD application deadlines
Application Deadlines for Academic Year 2017/18 
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