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Jim Luby

Senior Principal Engineer




Jim Luby's research interests include autonomous undersea vehicles, underwater acoustics, statistical signal processing, marine mammal detection and classification, communications and networking, and automatic control. He has been with APL-UW since 1979.

Department Affiliation

Electronic & Photonic Systems


B.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Connecticut, 1976

M.S. Electrical Engineering, Colorado State University, 1976

Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, University of Washington, 1984


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Near-real-time acoustic monitoring of beaked whales and other cetaceans using a Seaglider

Klinck, H., D.K. Mellinger, K. Klinck, N.M. Bogue, J.C. Luby, W.A. Jump, G.B. Shilling, T. Litchendorf, A.S. Wood, G.S. Schorr, and R.W. Baird, "Near-real-time acoustic monitoring of beaked whales and other cetaceans using a Seaglider," Plos One, 7, e36128, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036128, 2012.

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18 May 2012

In most areas, estimating the presence and distribution of cryptic marine mammal species, such as beaked whales, is extremely difficult using traditional observational techniques such as ship-based visual line transect surveys. Because acoustic methods permit detection of animals underwater, at night, and in poor weather conditions, passive acoustic observation has been used increasingly often over the last decade to study marine mammal distribution, abundance, and movements, as well as for mitigation of potentially harmful anthropogenic effects. However, there is demand for new, cost-effective tools that allow scientists to monitor areas of interest autonomously with high temporal and spatial resolution in near-real time. Here we describe an autonomous underwater vehicle — a glider — equipped with an acoustic sensor and onboard data processing capabilities to passively scan an area for marine mammals in near-real time. The instrument developed here can be used to cost-effectively screen areas of interest for marine mammals for several months at a time. The near-real-time detection and reporting capabilities of the glider can help to protect marine mammals during potentially harmful anthropogenic activities such as seismic exploration for sub-sea fossil fuels or naval sonar exercises. Furthermore, the glider is capable of under-ice operation, allowing investigation of otherwise inaccessible polar environments that are critical habitats for many endangered marine mammal species.

Gliders, floats, and robot sailboats: Autonomous platforms for marine mammal research

Mellinger, D.K., H. Klink, N.M. Bogue, J. Luby, H. Matsumoto, and R. Stelzer, "Gliders, floats, and robot sailboats: Autonomous platforms for marine mammal research," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 131, 3493, doi:10.1121/1.4709197, 2012.

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1 Apr 2012

Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM), now widely used for marine mammal research, is typically conducted using hydrophone arrays towed behind ships, providing real-time data from large areas over short time spans (days to weeks), or using fixed autonomous hydrophones, providing non-real-time data from small areas over long time spans (months to years). In contrast, mobile platforms can supply near-real-time data over spatiotemporal scales large in both space and time. These systems are deployed from a vessel, communicate via satellite with shore stations for navigation and control updates, and report in near-real time upon detecting marine mammal or other sounds of interest. Acoustically-equipped gliders are buoyancy-driven devices that are capable of traversing long distances (hundreds to thousands of kilometers) over weeks to months of autonomous operation. Autonomous floats such as QUEphones drift with currents or park on the seafloor, rising to the surface upon detecting sounds of interest. Robot sailboats such as the Roboat use wind to propel themselves quickly over long distances. All platforms can store large datasets and carry additional sensors (e.g., temperature, salinity, chlorophyll, pH, O2), and are therefore well-suited for investigating oceanographic and ecological questions. Advantages and disadvantages of these platforms for various applications will be discussed.

Passive-acoustic monitoring of odontocetes using a Seaglider: First results of a field test in Hawaiian waters.

Klink, H., D.K. Mellniger, M.A. Roch, K. Klinck, N.M. Bogue, J.C. Luby, W.A. Jump, J.M. Pyle, G.B. Shilling, T. Litchendorf, and A.S. Wood, "Passive-acoustic monitoring of odontocetes using a Seaglider: First results of a field test in Hawaiian waters." J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 129, 2536, doi:10.1121/1.3588409, 2011.

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1 Apr 2011

In fall 2009 the University of Washington, Applied Physics Laboratory conducted in collaboration with the Oregon State University, a comprehensive field test of a passive-acoustic Seaglider along the western shelf-break of the island of Hawaii. During the 3 week mission, a total of approximately 170 h of broadband acoustic data [194 kHz sampling rate] were collected. The recordings were manually analyzed by an experienced analyst for beaked whale (Ziphiidae), dolphin (Delphinidae), and sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) echolocation clicks as well as echo sounder pings emitted by boats in the area. Here we present and discuss first results of these data analysis, which revealed that more than 50% of the recorded files (each of 1-minute duration) contain bioacoustic signals. Furthermore the recorded data and the results of the manual analysis are used to validate and optimize an automated classifier for odontocete echolocation clicks, which was developed in a collaborative effort with San Diego State University. The algorithm is intended to be implemented on the Seaglider to enable species identification by classifying detected echolocation clicks in (near) real-time during sea trials.

More Publications

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center