The Beacon

Blog Tags: Dolphins

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This week in ocean news, ...A 72 million-year-old sea turtle fossil -- the oldest on record -- was discovered in Mexico. ...A council plans to vote in June on protecting the sea floor from Florida to North Carolina from bottom trawls, bottom longlines and other destructive fishing gear. The 23,000 square miles is thought to encompass the largest deepwater reef system in the world. ...Almost 200 pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins were stranded on a beach in Tasmania, the fourth beaching incident there in recent months. ...The fisher poets (no relation to yours truly) had their annual gathering in Oregon. ...Scientists discovered a carnivorous sea squirt that looks like a desk lamp. ...As the OCYC notes, David de Rothschild is leading a project to build a 60-foot catamaran out of plastic bottles, called Plastiki, which he will sail from California to Australia. ...A Bengal tiger cub and a dolphin made friends. The next Disney Pixar movie, anyone?

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Dolphin Design

lunocet dolphin fin

If humans are clumsy and slow in the water, at least we're good at stealing performance-enhancing ideas from other animals. In this case, from dolphins, who can swim up to 33 miles per hour. Georgia engineer Ted Ciamillo has invented the Lunocet, a 2.5-pound monofin made of carbon fiber and fiberglass. Its shape and angle are precisely modeled on a dolphin's tail -- and it's making Michael Phelps look like a sea slug. Swimmers have already hit about eight miles per hour wearing the fin, which is twice as fast as Phelps at a sprint. Marine biologist Frank Fish (yes, you read that right) provided Ciamillo with data from CAT scans of dolphins' tails that he used to design his fins. And as you could probably guess, the Lunocet ain't cheap: they go for about $1,800 each.

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Dolphin Dilemma

new jersey dolphins

Recall the group of 16 bottlenose dolphins that curiously ended up in several New Jersey rivers this summer, and took up residency there? Now that the dolphins have apparently left the Garden State (three died, the others either went back out to sea or are trapped under frozen rivers), folks on all sides of the issue are debating whether NOAA did the right thing in not rescuing the creatures.

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Killer Salmon

killer whales

A new report shows that the southern population of endangered killer whales in the Pacific Northwest are the most The salmon swim in Pacific near-shore waters polluted by agriculture, industry, and regular ol' urban runoff.

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Dolphins, Whales Still Threatened By Fishing

On the heels of President Bush's creation of three vast marine national monuments in the Pacific comes some not-so-great news about the outgoing president's stewardship of the oceans. In a new report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (my personal favorite of the federal agencies for its malfeasance-ferreting-out ways) has found that the National Marine Fisheries Service has failed to protect several marine mammal species, even though it's required by law. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the federal government is required to reduce the number of marine mammals that are incidentally killed by commercial fishing activities. For example, the North Atlantic right whale can be caught in lobster trap lines; pilot whales can be trapped in longline gear used to catch tuna; and dolphins and porpoises can be ensnared in nets set to catch cod and salmon. The GAO found that the National Marine Fisheries Service has been unable to establish plans to protect 14 of the 30 marine mammals required by law due to a lack of funding and insufficient data.

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A Dolphin Stamp-ede?

kelp forest stamps

Many of you have seen this already, I'm sure, but since Oceana HQ just got back to work this week, I missed out on posting this amazing video of a dolphin stampede in the Sea of Cortez:

That's a heck of a lot of dolphins, and you have to wonder where they're heading in such a hurry... Perhaps they're rushing to get the USPS' new kelp forest stamps... okay, obviously not, but the stamps do look pretty cool. Hat tip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Notes blog for the tidbit.

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Naval Sonar Could Affect Whales, Dolphins

jacksonville sonar range affects whales, sea turtles, corals

Next spring, the Supreme Court will weigh in on the U.S. Navy’s use of high-intensity, mid-frequency sonar off the southern California coast. Use of this type of sonar, which the Navy admits may significantly disturb or injure an estimated 170,000 marine mammals, was challenged in court based on protections found in the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970. Now that oral arguments before the Supreme Court have concluded, we must wait for its decision in 2009. But when you’re as passionate about the issues as our staff and supporters, waiting can be incredibly difficult, so thanks to a Wavemaker in St. Augustine, FL named Marcella, I have something that you can do to help protect marine mammals and other ocean wildlife from sonar.

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Dieting Dolphins

dieting dolphins

What happens when you feed your dolphins fatty mackerel? Your dolphins become too fatty to perform. That's what happened at a Japanese marine park when staff started noticing that the animals' girlish figures were becoming more portly and they couldn't hit their jumping targets. Now it's time to shape up the old-fashioned way -- diet and exercise. That's right, dolphins, there's no magic bullet -- it's called discipline.

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Flipper Lives!

Dolphin walking on tail

A wild dolphin in south Australia has been teaching members of her group to walk on their tails, a behavior usually seen only after training in captivity. Scientists are scratching their heads -- why would the dolphins do this? Well, one of the female dolphins, Billie, could have learned the behavior by observation during her brief stint in a dolphinarium. Or they might be watching too much Olympic gymnastics. Plus, it just looks like fun.

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Dolphins Get Cuter Yet

dolphin whistles to baby

Well if this doesn't make you say, "aww," I dont know what will... According to a new study, female bottlenose dolphins whistle 10 times more often after they give birth so their little ones can recognize them in the crowd of adults, since dolphins are social creatures.

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