Tag Archives: Marine Biology

Sonar Haram

Does Military Sonar Kill Marine Wildlife?
From Scientific American, June 10, 2009

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that military sonar exercises actually kill marine wildlife? — John Slocum, Newport, RI

Unfortunately for many whales, dolphins and other marine life, the use of underwater sonar (short for sound navigation and ranging) can lead to injury and even death. Sonar systems—first developed by the U.S. Navy to detect enemy submarines—generate slow-rolling sound waves topping out at around 235 decibels; the world’s loudest rock bands top out at only 130. These sound waves can travel for hundreds of miles under water, and can retain an intensity of 140 decibels as far as 300 miles from their source.

These rolling walls of noise are no doubt too much for some marine wildlife. While little is known about any direct physiological effects of sonar waves on marine species, evidence shows that whales will swim hundreds of miles, rapidly change their depth (sometime leading to bleeding from the eyes and ears), and even beach themselves to get away from the sounds of sonar. Continue reading

Great Barrier Bleach

Reef on the brink
The Great Barrier Reef: a catastrophe laid bare
By Michael Slezak, 7 June 2016

Australia’s natural wonder is in mortal danger. Bleaching caused by climate change has killed almost a quarter of its coral this year and many scientists believe it could be too late for the rest. Using exclusive photographs and new data, a Guardian special report investigates how the reef has been devastated – and what can be done to save it

It was the smell that really got to diver Richard Vevers. The smell of death on the reef. “I can’t even tell you how bad I smelt after the dive – the smell of millions of rotting animals.” Continue reading

Jezus Starfish to Die for Man’s Sin

Great Barrier Reef Photo: The crown-of-thorns starfish is one of the biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef, destroying around 40 per cent of the reef from Cooktown to the Whitsundays. (Reuters: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority) [But no bigger threat than the man in the suit. 7M]

COTSBot: New robot aims to terminate crown-of-thorns starfish destroying Great Barrier Reef
By Kathy McLeish,31 Aug 2015

Queensland researchers are close to completing work on an autonomous robot that will cruise the Great Barrier Reef and inject the destructive crown-of-thorns starfish with a toxic solution. The starfish is no bigger than a dinner plate, but collectively it represents one of the biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef, already destroying around 40 per cent of the reef from Cooktown to the Whitsundays.

The COTSBot underwater robot looks like a sophisticated remote control toy submarine. But it has been designed to cruise around a designated area of coral reef, seeking out and destroying the predator crown-of-thorn starfish or COTS. Using GPS technology and powerful thrusters, the robot is designed to cruise about a metre above the coral surface and using visual recognition technology, it will look for the pests. When it sees one, an injector arm will shoot out and stab it. Continue reading

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