Trump OKs seismic tests in Atlantic that can harm thousands of dolphins & whales

Trump's about to make a bunch of whales, turtles, and dolphins go deaf.

The Trump administration is about to take a preliminary step toward oil and natural gas drilling off the Atlantic shore, by approving requests from energy companies to conduct “deafening seismic tests that could harm tens of thousands of dolphins, whales and other marine animals,” reports the Los Angeles Times. Read the rest

Livestream killer whale songs and other ocean sounds

Orcasound is a citizen science project (and app) enabling you to listen to livestreams of audio from underwater microphones off Washington’s San Juan Island. Read the rest

Hiding secret messages in whale song

Most military underwater surveillance systems filter out whale calls along with other ambient ocean noise. This inspired researchers from China's Tianjin University to create a form of "bio-inspired steganography" in which recordings of whale songs can be edited to contain secret messages and then electronically transmitted underwater. From Newsweek:

In research published in IEEE Communication Magazine, the team said there are two ways to hide signals in whale pulses—changing the signal to include encrypted information or making the signal weaker.

The former is problematic because it would stand out from other naturally occurring signals, Jiang told SCMP. However, the second method holds promise. Researchers could build a coding system around the whale sounds. They could then edit whale sounds so they are indistinguishable from other whale calls. When they are received by the coding system, they can be deciphered. The main drawback for this approach is that it would be difficult to send a message over a long distance.

"Bio-Inspired Steganography for Secure Underwater Acoustic Communications" (IEEE Communications)

Image: "A mother sperm whale and her calf off the coast of Mauritius" by Gabriel Barathieu Read the rest

Dolphins forced to simplify calls due to human noise pollution in the oceans

As a result of noisy ship engines and the racket of ocean mining, bottlenose dolphins have slowly reducing the complexity and changing the frequency of their calls. According to new research from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and published in the journal Biology Letters, "the noise-induced simplification of dolphin whistles may reduce the information content in these acoustic signals and decrease effective communication, parent–offspring proximity or group cohesion." From YaleEnvironment360:

“It’s kind of like trying to answer a question in a noisy bar and after repeated attempts to be heard, you just give the shortest answer possible,” Bailey said. “Dolphins simplified their calls to counter the masking effects of vessel noise.”

Dolphins are highly social animals and use their calls to stay together as a group, talk as they feed, and call out their names when they meet new members of their species. Each animal has a distinctive whistle, which typically uses complex sound patterns with variations in pitch and frequency.

photo: US Navy Read the rest

Breathtaking photos of sea monsters emerging from the waves

Rachael Talibart's breathtaking "Sirens" photo series pareidolically reveals the fantastic mythical beasts hidden in the ocean waves. From Tailbart's gallery page at the Sony World Photography Awards in which she was shortlisted:

‘Sirens’ is an ongoing portfolio of storm waves captured on the UK’s south coast. A childhood afloat and a love of maritime mythology have come together in these portraits of monstrous waves named after mythological creatures. These images are from 2017 and were captured at Newhaven, in East Sussex, but the photographs are intended to transcend time and place. Thus, in naming them, I have shamelessly plundered myths and legends from all cultures and eras. On the days I make these photographs, the sea is beautiful but also terrifying. I feel utterly insignificant, yet completely enriched by these encounters with wildness, and that is what I have tried to communicate in the photographs.

Above, "Loki." Below, "Poseidon Rising" and "Nanook."

See more: Rachael Talibart "Sirens"

(via PetaPixel)

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Mermaid or beluga whale?

According to the excellent wunderkammer of Twitter accounts, We Like To Learn, "Throughout history, sailors have mistaken Beluga Wales for mermaids because of their human-like knees."

(As our helpful commenters point out, those aren't literally "knees" in the image but rather love handles that help the whales steer as they swim. More here.)

(via Daily Grail) Read the rest

Getting to work on time: FINAL BOSS FIGHT

The way this man casually hops on to a moving freighter in Hailuoto, Finland as it tears through ice and sub-zero waters should make anyone who sees this video feel a whole lot better about their morning commute. Read the rest

Watch a dolphin knock a stand-up paddleboarder right off his board

Andrew Hill was stand-up paddleboarding off Gracetown, Western Australia when a pod of dolphins interrupted his fun.

“Eight or nine of them decided to catch that wave and surf straight at me, which has happened lots of times in the past to me and generally they just take off to one side left or right,” Hill told PerthNow. “It's good to see dolphins. Surfers like seeing dolphins, but obviously I'd prefer them to stay a little bit further away than they did yesterday.”

I'm sure they'd prefer the same of Mr. Hill.

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The Earth's constant hum comes from the ocean floor

For more than fifty years, scientists have known that the Earth hums. We can't hear the sound as it's at a frequency 10,000 times lower than our hearing threshold but new research suggests that it's coming from the ocean floor. Scientists from the Paris Institute of Global Physics analyzed data from earthquake sensors on the Indian Ocean floor and found the familiar and constant oscillations of between 2.9 and 4.5 millihertz. From National Geographic:

"To better understand where the signal comes from, we believe that observing oscillations from the ocean bottom can help," says co-author Martha Deen...

Since early observations, a number of studies have hypothesized that the Earth's free oscillations are a side-effect of the pounding of ocean waves. Other research suggests the hum could originate from atmospheric turbulence, or the wind motions around the globe, cued by storms. The current study says turbulence could account for part of the vibration, leading the rest to be fueled by ocean waves...

By studying the Earth's hum signal from ocean-bottom stations, scientists can map out a detailed landscape of the Earth's interior. Currently, they can only look at the inside of the planet during earthquakes, which limits studies to certain times and areas. And when looking at seismic activity from land monitors, researchers can't chart places far removed from islands and land masses. But the hum signal, droning and constant, can be detected across the world.

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Watch massive sharks attack submarine

A fantastic behind-the-scenes clip from Blue Planet II:

The Blue Planet II team dive to over 700 meters to see what happens to a whale carcass on the seabed. Whilst filming sharks as they feast, the sharks start to take a worrying interest in the submarine!

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Watch delighted swimmers flee from curious killer whale

Watch these swimmers on Hahei Beach, New Zealand flee from a killer whale, aka an orca, last weekend. "You guys are idiots," says the cameraperson. Killer whales don't attack people in the wild. From the New Zealand Herald:

"They came in very close, about 10 metres from shore," (said Gary Hinds, chairman of the Hot Water Beach Lifeguard.)

It's a sight locals see about once to twice a season.

"They come in to feed on stingrays and stuff like that," Mr Hinds said.

"Some people don't see them, but the ones who do are in awe of seeing these orcas so close into the shore."

Surf lifesavers kept an eye on the situation to ensure people kept a safe distance and didn't get into trouble going out to look.

Read the rest

Astounding underwater photography contest winners

Scuba Diving magazine announced the winners of its underwater photography contest and the results are an awe-inspiring glimpse of another world that exists within our own. Above, Kevin Richter's magnificent photo of an octopus in Lembeh Strait, Indonesia, took first place in the compact camera category. Below: Rodney Bursiel took first prize in the wide angle category for this shot of a whale calf breaching in Tavarua, Fiji; Eduardo Acevedo's image of this ribbon eel in Lembeh Strait, Indonesia won second place for macro photography.

See the rest at Scuba Diving Magazine.

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Hear Radiohead and Hans Zimmer's collaboration "(Ocean) Bloom"

In collaboration with Hans Zimmer, Radiohead reworked their track "Bloom" from The King of Limbs into an epic orchestral number that seems just perfect for its intended use, in the soundtrack for Sir David Attenborough's new BBC documentary Blue Planet II. According to Thom Yorke, "Bloom" was originally inspired by the first Blue Planet series in 2001.

"It sort of seeped into my subconscious. I found myself dreaming of these creatures quite a lot," Yorke says in the below behind-the-scenes clip about the making of the new track.

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Stunning timelapse from a cargo ship on the open sea

From JeffHK, 80,000 photos over 30 days:

Route was from Red Sea -- Gulf of Aden -- Indian Ocean -- Colombo -- Malacca Strait -- Singapore -- South East China Sea -- Hong Kong

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Fisherman catch first documented two-headed porpoises

Fishermen in the North Sea near the Nethelands caught the first two-headed porpoises ever documented. The trawler crew found the animal already dead in its nets. From Deinsea, the journal of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam:

"The crew of the fishing vessel thought it would be illegal to keep the dead porpoise and they threw the specimen back into the sea. Fortunately, first a series of photographs was taken. The specimen, however, is lost for science and natural history."

"The first case of conjoined twin harbour porpoises Phocoena phocoena (Mammalia, Cetacea)" (Deinsea via Mysterious Universe)

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Why peeing on a jellyfish sting is actually a terrible idea

Acidic solutions can help neutralize the toxins from a jellyfish sting so why shouldn't you try to piss the pain away? (Reactions)

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When paddleboarding, this is not what you want to hear

An announcement from a police helicopter on Wednesday near Capistrano Beach, California:

"You are paddleboarding next to approximately 15 great white sharks. They are advising you exit the water in a calm manner. The sharks are as close as the surfline.” From the OC Register: Read the rest

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