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Novel Underwater Array for Detection and Monitoring of Marine Mammals

Northeastern researchers are forming a spinout that uses underwater array technology to detect and monitor marine mammalian behavior

Published: 26th July 2022
Novel Underwater Array for Detection and Monitoring of Marine Mammals
Please note, header image is purely illustrative. Source: Free-Photos, Pixabay, CC0


Ocean monitoring and detection is crucial. Studying marine mammal populations across a large ocean area provides insight into the marine ecosystems and the impact of their presence. Marine mammals are also monitored as a requirement for surveys – seismic, geographical and naval sonar surveillance. Technology to track and study marine mammals and their behavior is currently limited to the use of single or a few hydrophones. This limiting technology typically has a bandwidth in the range of 1kHz to 10kHz. Most of these hydrophones are expensive, difficult to acquire, and often designed by defense contractors. Existing monitoring systems have limitations in detection, accuracy, and their ability to differentiate mammalian species. It is also difficult to use such machinery for commercial purposes by fisheries and smaller boats. An affordable, compact, and easily available underwater array that can be used for businesses has yet to be realized.

Technology Overview

Northeastern researchers are developing an underwater array technology comprising 160 hydrophones. This allows users to pick up sounds over 100km away with a bandwidth of 10Hz to 50kHz. The technology also contains a machine learning aspect to aid detection and localization of sound. This cost-effective technology provides fisheries and businesses the opportunity to use passive acoustic wave‑guide to identify marine mammals of different species in a total coverage of around 10,000 sq. km.


  • Continuous marine detection covering a large area, around 10,000 sq. km, with higher resolution due to enhanced signal-to-noise ratio
  • Larger range of detection and classification of marine mammalian species with increased bandwidth of up to [MS1] 50kHz
  • Continuous update of geographic positions and tracking with one minute intervals


  • Commercial use by fisheries and businesses for seismic, geographical surveys, and naval sonar surveillance
  • Commercial vessels that require marine geographical surveillance to avoid mammalian deaths
  • Oil and gas companies to explore further reservoirs


Building a business plan, marketing and design materials.

IP Status
  • Patented
  • Development partner
  • Commercial partner
  • University spin out
  • Seeking investment