Dolphin Speakers Going Hammer

I read an article about researchers in Japan who created a prototype of a dolphin speaker that projects dolphin communication sounds, whistles, pulse sounds and echolocation clicks to gain insights into how dolphins communicate.  Yuka Mishima, a graduate student at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, along with university colleagues and collaborators at Fusion Inc. will present their research at the Acoustics 2012 meeting in Hong Kong. Dolphins can hear and produce sounds of up to 150 kHz in frequency, which are too high for humans to hear. This project will give us better understanding of the dolphins’ communication and detection skills. Their goal was to develop a dolphin speaker that could project the full range of all of the sounds dolphins make. Once the dolphin speaker is completed it will enable them to playback a variety of dolphin sounds to dolphins, which will help to broaden the research of their acoustic abilities.

What do you think about this?
What can we learn from studying dolphin acoustic communications?
What other sea animals can we build speakers for?

Seaweed = Biofuel?

I read an article about a group of scientists and professors at university in Israel are looking for renewable energy source that doesn’t endanger natural habitats or human food sources, such as bio ethanol which come from crops. Diverting crops to produce fuel limits food resources for some people. They say that common can be grown more quickly than land-based crops and harvested as fuel without sacrificing usable land. It’s a possible source of bioethanol that has remained unexplored until now. The researchers are now developing methods for growing and harvesting seaweed as a source of renewable energy. Not only is growing seaweeds along coastlines harmless they also clear the water of excessive nutrients that disturbs the marine environment.

What other methods have been found in making biofuel?

Do you think there are risks to making fuel out of seaweeds?

What the Nautilus?

I read the article about the mysteries of the nautilus. one of the interesting things about them is that nobody knows where their eggs are laid in the world. Also, nobody has been able to raise one from egg to maturity. We don’t know their lifespan and how long it takes them to mature. Even their population count is a mystery to us. Nautilus reproduce for many years which nobody knows how long either. However, we do know that they only lay about 12 eggs each year. Nautilus eggs are among the biggest compared to other animals the same size as a nautilus.

I learned a lot of about the mysteries of a nautilus. I didn’t know there were so many things we haven’t discovered from nautiluses. Somebody should start a research team that is dedicated to finding the answer to all of these mysteries. They should capture nautiluses and put a tracking device on them. Perhaps this will help us find where they lay their eggs based on where they go or how long they stay on one place. Who knows what other mysteries they hold? More research on them will help.

The Mystery of the Humboldt Squid

I read an article about researchers on the Sea of Cortez in Baja California learning about the mysterious Humboldt squid. They caught the squid where they are usually present in large numbers. However, this was not the case when they got there. Their sudden disappearance is affecting the local fishing industry. One of the researchers, William Gilly said:

“There were far fewer of them than normal, they were spread out over a huge area and they were very small. But they were also sexually mature and spawning at a ridiculously small size.”

The squids depend on lantern fish (a small, silvery fish that emits a small light on its sides). During an upwelling, phytoplankton begin to bloom and marine animals come together. But during an El Niño (a complex series of climatic changes during which the water becomes warm and nutrient-poor) the upwelling just recycles the warmer water, causing the phytoplankton population to crash and other creatures that depend on it (lantern fish). They found that the squids migrated to the north around the Midriff Islands where they can find more food, which in this case would be krill.


What are other marine related effects can El Niños cause?

Are there other temporary climate changes like the El Niño that affects phytoplanktons?

What other creatures do El Niños affect?

Ocean Flavouring

Credit: Charles Taylor / Fotolia

I read this article about essences extracted from a prawn or octopus off the west coast of Norway that could end up as flavouring in noodle packages in China. Scientists are investigating marine organisms to find components or compounds that have commercial use. The potential results are particularly promising in relation to foodstuffs as well as for applications in medicine and the energy industry. This is interesting because there are millions of creatures out in the sea and who knows that could be extracted from them. Essences extracted from prawns and octopuses can be alternatives to gathering spices on land.

What do you think about this?

What other possible products can be made with essence extraction on sea creatures?

Consider how much noodle products are made in China. How do you think this can affect countries economically if they sold the extracts to China?