In 1969 an underwater test facility was constructed specifically to study the biological effects produced by underwater blast. Investigations were conducted to determine the ranges from explosive charges, up to 3.6 kg, that were safe, damaging, or lethal to selected species of fish, birds, and mammals. It was established that the impulse (integral pdt) in the underwater blast wave was the parameter that governed biological damage and not peak pressure or energy. There was good correlation between the impulse and body weight in fish that ranged from 12 pKa⋅ms for 0.02‐g guppy fry to 341 kPa⋅ms for 744‐g carp. The blast response of fish with ducted swim bladders was the same as fish having nonducted swim bladders. Mallard ducks were selected as a model to represent birds on and beneath the water surface. Impulse levels that were safe, injurious, or lethal to birds were determined and presented as a function of range and charge weight. The tolerance of six mammalian species, that ranged in body weight from 0.2–45 kg, was investigated. A tentative interspecies extrapolation, relating impulse to body weight, was illustrated as a method that may be pursued to predict the response of large marine mammals to underwater blast. A safe‐impulse criterion of 14 pKa⋅ms for personnel was evaluated by an unprotected swimmer in a variety of charge‐depth configurations. [Work supported by Defense Nuclear Agency.]

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