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DJ Tang

Senior Principal Oceanographer






Dr. Tang research encompasses ocean bottom interacting acoustics, especially problems involving horizontal, as well as vertical, environmental variabilities; acoustic tomography of sediments; sediment conductivity; wave propagation in range-dependent waveguides; array processing; acoustic scattering by gas bubbles and man-made objects in sediments.

Department Affiliation



B.S. Physics, University of Science and Technology, Hefei, China, 1981

M.S. Physics/Acoustics, Institute of Acoustics, Beijing, China, 1985

Ph.D. Oceanographic Engineering, MIT/WHOI, 1991


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Direct-path backscatter measurements along the main reverberation track of TREX13

Tang, D., B.T. Hefner, and D.R. Jackson, "Direct-path backscatter measurements along the main reverberation track of TREX13," IEEE J. Ocean. Eng., 44, 972-983, doi:10.1109/JOE.2019.2901425, 2019.

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20 Mar 2019

The primary goal of the Target and Reverberation Experiment in spring 2013 (TREX13) was to identify the major physical mechanisms responsible for midfrequency reverberation. While both the sea surface and seafloor can contribute to reverberation, the seafloor is typically dominant in shallow water environments. To determine the level of this contribution at the TREX13 site, the bottom backscatter sonar (BBS) was deployed from a dive boat at multiple locations around the site. The BBS consists of a source and a receiver mounted on a short bracket that is suspended above the seafloor to measure direct-path bottom backscatter at 3 kHz. Data near normal incidence were interpreted as bottom reflectivity, which was used to quantitatively explain the range-dependence of the sediment composition at the experiment site. Two factors restricted the estimates of the bottom backscatter strength to the minimum grazing angle of 21°: the currents at the experiment site made it difficult to position the system close to the seafloor, and the shallow water depth resulted in sea surface scatter contaminating small angle bottom backscatter. From the measured backscatter strength and by utilizing available environmental data, initial models of scattering strength indicate that at the shallow grazing angles of importance to reverberation, the scattering on the sand ridges is dominated by roughness scattering while in the muddy areas of the ridge swales, volume scattering dominates. The volume scattering from these mud areas is significantly stronger than the roughness scattering on the ridges by as much as 10 dB and may explain the substantial fluctuations observed in the reverberation as a function of range.

Macroscopic observations of diel fish movements around a shallow water artificial reef using a mid-frequency horizontal-looking sonar

Lee, W.-J., D. Tang, T.K. Stanton, and E.I. Thorsos, "Macroscopic observations of diel fish movements around a shallow water artificial reef using a mid-frequency horizontal-looking sonar," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 144, 1424-1434, doi:10.1121/1.5054013, 2018.

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18 Sep 2018

The twilight feeding migration of fish around a shallow water artificial reef (a shipwreck) was observed by a horizontal-looking, mid-frequency sonar. The sonar operated at frequencies between 1.8 and 3.6 kHz and consisted of a co-located source and horizontal line array deployed at 4 km from the reef. The experiment was conducted in a well-mixed shallow water waveguide which is conducive to characterizing fish aggregations at these distances. Large aggregations of fish were repeatedly seen to emerge rapidly from the shipwreck at dusk, disperse into the surrounding area during the night, and quickly converge back to the shipwreck at dawn. This is a rare, macroscopic observation of an ecologically-important reef fish behavior, delivered at the level of aggregations, instead of individual fish tracks that have been documented previously. The significance of this observation on sonar performance associated with target detection in the presence of fish clutter is discussed based on analyses of echo intensity and statistics. Building on previous studies of long-range fish echoes, this study further substantiates the unique utility of such sonar systems as an ecosystem monitoring tool, and illustrates the importance of considering the impact of the presence of fish on sonar applications.

Overview of midfrequency reverberation data acquired during the Target and Reverberation Experiment 2013

Yang, J., D. Tang, B.T. Hefner, K.L. Williams, and J.R. Preston, "Overview of midfrequency reverberation data acquired during the Target and Reverberation Experiment 2013," IEEE J. Oceanic Eng., 43, 563 - 585, doi:10.1109/JOE.2018.2802578, 2018.

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1 Jul 2018

The Target and Reverberation EXperiment 2013 (TREX13) included a comprehensive reverberation field project in the frequency band of 2–10 kHz, and was carried out off the coast of Panama City, FL, USA, from April 21 to May 17, 2013. A spatially fixed transmit and receive acoustic system was used to measure reverberation over time under diverse environmental conditions, allowing study of reverberation level (RL) dependence on bottom composition, sea surface conditions, and water column properties. Extensive in situ measurements, including a multibeam bathymetric survey, chirp sonar subbottom profiling, gravity/diver cores, sediment sound speed and attenuation, interface roughness, wind-generated sea surface waves, and water column properties, were made to support studies of environmental effects on RL. Beamformed RL data are categorized to facilitate studies emphasizing physical mechanisms of 1) bottom reverberation; 2) sea surface impact; and 3) biological impact. This paper is an overview of RL over the entire sea trial, intending to summarize major observations and provide both a road map and suitable data sets for follow-up efforts on model/data comparisons. Emphasis is placed on the dependence of RL on local geoacoustic properties and sea surface conditions.

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