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Blog Tags: Walruses

Ocean Roundup: Orcas Can Shift Vocal Sounds around Dolphins, Larval Fish Found to Make Noise, and More

Orcas were found to engage in cross-species vocal learning

Orcas were found to engage in cross-species vocal learning. (Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Brandon Southall, NMFS/OPR / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Humans, cetaceans, and some birds are some of the only species known to practice vocal learning—communicating with sounds that aren’t just innate. Researchers found orcas not only practice this, but orcas engage in cross-species vocal learning, meaning they shift sounds depending on who they’re hanging out with. Science Daily


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Ocean Roundup: Crabs Found to Look Out for Corals, 35,000 Walruses Gather on Alaskan Beach, and More

Coral crab guards defend corals from sea stars

A crab of the genus Trapezia, which defends coral reefs from sea stars. (Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr Creative Commons)

- New research shows that some coral may have natural “crab guards” that help them fight off predatory sea stars. Researchers found that coral off the island of Moorea in French Polynesia have a symbiotic relationship with these crabs, offering them shelter and nutrition in exchange for protection. Smithsonian


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Arctic Sea Ice at Second Lowest on Record

grey seal

A grey seal. © Oceana/Carlos Minguell

The latest sea ice data are out, and they aren't pretty. Here’s the latest:

  • Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center believe that Arctic sea ice reached its smallest extent for this year on September 9, at 4.33 million square kilometers. If this is the case, the only year since 1979 with less ice was 2007, but they note that if wind conditions change, the area covered by ice may still shrink.

The sea ice data in particular are drawing a lot of attention because sea ice maintenance affects weather patterns around the globe, melting ice contributes to warmer oceans and rising sea levels, and unusual ice patterns can wreak havoc on the lives of native humans and animals, particularly polar bears, which can drown, and walruses, which can starve.


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Walruses Forced Ashore by Melting Sea Ice

As DailyKos and the New York Times reported yesterday, melting sea ice has forced more than 10,000 walruses ashore in the Alaskan Arctic. Normally they rest on ice floes in the summer, periodically diving for food.

And this isn’t the first time. In fact, this is the third time in the last four years that the walruses have alarmingly turned into landlubbers.

The future isn’t looking good for this ice-loving lumberer, unless we take action to stop climate change and protect the Arctic from further catastrophic warming.


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