SERDP & ESTCP Webinar Series

SERDP and ESTCP have launched a webinar series to promote the transfer of innovative, cost-effective and sustainable solutions developed through projects funded in five program areas. The webinar series targets Department of Defense and Department of Energy practitioners, the regulatory community and environmental researchers with the goal of providing cutting edge and practical information that is easily accessible at no cost.


Webinar #28 (02/25/2016)

Recent Advances in the Classification of Underwater Munitions near a Water-Sediment Boundary

Dr. Aubrey España, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington

Dr. Tim Marston, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington

Presented February 25, 2016 -   Webinar Slides


This project supports Department of Defense (DoD) efforts to develop technologies to detect, classify and remediate munitions found at underwater sites. In particular, there is a need for assessing and predicting the locations of munitions relative to the sea floor, and for assessing the relative abundance of intact munitions in the presence of clutter. This project addresses these needs by leveraging experimental measurements in the ongoing validation of models, and then combining measurements and simulated data to develop, train and test both detection and classification algorithms. Validated models and trained detection and classification algorithms will permit users to determine operational protocols prior to a site survey in addition to providing the tools needed for post-mission analysis. Ultimately, this will help DoD practitioners in making informed decisions on the relative merits of different remediation actions (e.g., leave in place and monitor, or rely on an expensive removal process).

Following an introduction outlining the interdisciplinary nature of this problem and the key steps underlying the process of trying to detect and classify underwater munitions, the remainder of this webinar will be organized into two parts. The first one will focus on sonar processing and will highlight the acquisition of raw acoustic sonar data, current models that simulate it, and processing tools that are used to reduce the raw data to “data products.” The second part of the webinar will discuss current efforts towards using these data products to train and test classification algorithms, how to estimate the performance of these algorithms, and recent efforts to use model results to optimize sonar performance.

Speaker Biographies

Aubrey Espana

Dr. Aubrey España is a Senior Physicist at the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington (APL-UW) where her research focuses on using physics to understand and predict the acoustic response of munitions in an underwater environment via finite element analysis. She has participated in multiple field experiments including both TREX13 and BAYEX14, and has led the data acquisition strategy during those experiments. In addition to serving as a co-investigator on numerous SERDP projects within the Munitions Response program, she is currently in charge of facilitating and coordinating collaborative efforts between multiple institutions in a project funded by the Navy aimed at developing a performance estimation model for underwater mine countermeasure operations.

Dr. España received her B.S. (2004) and Ph.D. (2009) in Physics from Washington State University. In 2009, she served as a postdoctoral appointment in the Acoustics Department at APL-UW where she was awarded an SRA Postdoctoral Fellowship Research Award from the Office of Naval Research to study the role played by the environment on the measured acoustic scattering from objects on or embedded in the seafloor

Tim Marston

Dr. Tim Marston is a Senior Engineer at the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington where his research interests include acoustic signal analysis, remote sensing and synthetic-aperture signal processing.

Dr. Marston received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Seattle Pacific University in 2004, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in acoustics from Penn State in 2006 and 2009, respectively. His graduate research focused on infrasonic acoustic transducer calibration and sound propagation through networks of ducts. From 2009 to 2010, he worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Arts and Sciences, Washington State University, where he researched the use of synthetic aperture techniques to analyze the acoustic response characteristics of submerged elastic structures near interfaces. From 2010 to 2013, he worked at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, focusing on synthetic-aperture sonar signal processing.

Past Webinars

Featured Initiatives

The latest developments in science, engineering, and technology.

Explore Featured Initiatives

Program Areas

SERDP and ESTCP’s complete investment portfolio.

Explore Program Areas