New Device Detects Objects Through Bubble Clouds

Detection of targets in bubbly waters are key goals of shallow-water sonar.

Scientists at the University of Southampton have developed a new kind of underwater sonar device that can detect objects through bubble clouds that would effectively blind standard sonar.

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Dolphins’ Health Shed Light on Human and Ocean Health

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The Georgia Dolphin Health Assessment capture-release study provides information on the health of the wild dolphin population that inhabits estuaries along the Georgia coast.

A panel of governmental, academic and non-profit scientists speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) unveiled research suggesting that diseases found in dolphins are similar to human diseases and can provide clues into how human health might be affected by exposure to contaminated coastal water or seafood.

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In Bats and Whales, Convergence in Echolocation Ability Runs Deep

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Dolphin.

Only some bats and toothed whales rely on sophisticated echolocation, in which they emit sonar pulses and process returning echoes, to detect and track down small prey. Now, two new studies in the January 26th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, show that bats’ and whales’ remarkable ability and the high-frequency hearing it depends on are shared at a much deeper level than anyone would have anticipated — all the way down to the molecular level.

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Some Mouse Sperm Can Identify, and Even Cooperate With, Its Brethren

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Male deer mouse.

Some mouse sperm can discriminate between its brethren and competing sperm from other males, clustering with its closest relatives to swim faster in the race to the egg. But this sort of cooperation appears to be present only in certain promiscuous species, where it affords an individual’s sperm a competitive advantage over that of other males.

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Primates’ Social Intelligence Overestimated: Primates Groom Others If Afraid They’d Lose Fight

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Two wild long-tailed macaques in the Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali in Indonesia.

The grooming behaviour displayed by primates is due to less rational behaviour than often thought. According to a computer model developed by scientists at the University of Groningen, one basic rule explains all possible grooming patterns: individuals will groom others if they’re afraid they’ll lose from them in a fight.

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Whale-sized Genetic Study Largest Ever For Southern Hemisphere Humpbacks

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Humpback whales in southern populations are poorly understand in terms of their population structure. The new research will help researchers understand these populations and how they are connected, which in turn will help inform management decisions.

After 15 years of research in the waters of the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History, and an international coalition of organizations have unveiled the largest genetic study of humpback whale populations ever conducted in the Southern Hemisphere. Continue reading… “Whale-sized Genetic Study Largest Ever For Southern Hemisphere Humpbacks”

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Getting A Leg Up On Whale And Dolphin Evolution: New Comprehensive Analysis Sheds Light On The Origin Of Cetaceans

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The Eocene “walking whale”(Ambulocetus natans) is a close relative to the Cetacean.

When the ancestors of living cetaceans—whales, dolphins and porpoises—first dipped their toes into water, a series of evolutionary changes were sparked that ultimately nestled these swimming mammals into the larger hoofed animal group. But what happened first, a change from a plant-based diet to a carnivorous diet, or the loss of their ability to walk?

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Dolphins Get A Lift From Delta Wing Technology

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Two Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins swimming off the coast of Oahu.

We can only marvel at the way that dolphins, whales and porpoises scythe through water. Their finlike flippers seem perfectly adapted for maximum aquatic agility. However, no one had ever analysed how the animals’ flippers interact with water; the hydrodynamic lift that they generate, the drag that they experience or their hydrodynamic efficiency. Laurens Howle and Paul Weber from Duke University teamed up with Mark Murray from the United States Naval Academy and Frank Fish from West Chester University, to find out more about the hydrodynamics of whale and dolphin

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Streaming Sand Grains Help Define Essence Of A Liquid

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Enlarged microscopic image of sand grains

University of Chicago researchers recently showed that dry granular materials such as sands, seeds and grains have properties similar to liquid, forming water-like droplets when poured from a given source. The finding could be important to a wide range of industries that use “fluidized” dry particles for oil refining, plastics manufacturing and pharmaceutical production.

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Wildlife Faces Cancer Threat

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Animals all around the globe are dying from fibropapillomatosis,
a disease that causes tumors on the skin

While cancer touches the lives of many humans, it is also a major threat to wild animal populations as well, according to a recent study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Continue reading… “Wildlife Faces Cancer Threat”

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Blue Whale Discovered Singing In New York Coastal Waters

For the very first time in New York coastal waters, the voices of singing blue whales have been positively identified. Acoustic experts at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Bioacoustics Research Program (BRP) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) confirmed that the voice of a singing blue whale was tracked about 70 miles off of Long Island and New York City on Jan. 10-11, 2009, as the whale swam slowly from east to west. At the same time, a second blue whale was heard singing offshore in the far distance.

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