A high-resolution ultrasonic profiler has been developed which permits both laboratory and field studies of small-scale subaqueous bedforms. The device uses a 2.5-cm diameter piezoelectric ceramic crystal pulsed at a frequency of 4.5 MHz to obtain vertical accuracy and resolution of at least 1 mm. Compared to other small-scale profiling methods, this ultrasonic technique profiles the bottom more accurately and more rapidly without disturbing the bedforms. These characteristics are vital in wave-dominated nearshore zones where oscillatory flow and low visibility for the most part have stymied detailed bedform studies. In the laboratory the transducer is mounted directly to an instrument carriage. For field work the transducer housing is mounted in a 2 m long aluminum frame which is situated and operated by scuba divers. Observations using the device include ripple geometry and migration, the suspension height of sand during sheet flow, and long-term erosion/deposition at a point. ?? 1977.