In this study, a method of analysis is presented for investigating the effects of elastic foundation and fluid on the dynamic response characteristics (natural frequencies and associated mode shapes) of rectangular Kirchhoff plates. For the interaction of the Kirchhoff plate-Pasternak foundation, a mixed-type finite element formulation is employed by using the Gateaux differential. The plate finite element adopted in this study is quadrilateral and isoparametric having four corner nodes, and at each node four degrees of freedom are present (one transverse displacement, two bending moments and one torsional moment). Therefore, a total number of 16 degrees-of-freedom are assigned to each element. A consistent mass formulation is used for the eigenvalue solution in the mixed finite element analysis. The plate structure considered is assumed clamped or simply supported along its edges and resting on a Pasternak foundation. Furthermore, the plate is fully or partially in contact with fresh water on its one side. For the calculation of the fluid-structure interaction effects (generalized fluid-structure interaction forces), a boundary element method is adopted together with the method of images in order to impose an appropriate boundary condition on the fluid's free surface. It is assumed that the fluid is ideal, i.e., inviscid, incompressible, and its motion is irrotational. It is also assumed that the plate-elastic foundation system vibrates in its in vacuo eigenmodes when it is in contact with fluid, and that each mode gives rise to a corresponding surface pressure distribution on the wetted surface of the structure. At the fluid-structure interface, continuity considerations require that the normal velocity of the fluid is equal to that of the structure. The normal velocities on the wetted surface of the structure are expressed in terms of the modal structural displacements, obtained from the finite element analysis. By using the boundary integral equation method the fluid pressure is eliminated from the problem, and the fluid-structure interaction forces are calculated in terms of the generalized hydrodynamic added mass coefficients (due to the inertial effect of fluid). To asses the influences of the elastic foundation and fluid on the dynamic behavior of the plate structure, the natural frequencies and associated mode shapes are presented. Furthermore, the influence of the submerging depth on the dynamic behavior is also investigated. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.