Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Dolphins use double sonar

08.06.2011
Dolphins and porpoises use echolocation for hunting and orientation. By sending out high-frequency sound, known as ultrasound, dolphins can use the echoes to determine what type of object the sound beam has hit. Researchers from Sweden and the US have now discovered that dolphins can generate two sound beam projections simultaneously.

“The beam projections have different frequencies and can be sent in different directions. The advantage is probably that the dolphin can locate the object more precisely”, says Josefin Starkhammar, a newly examined doctor in Electrical Measurements at Lund University, who also holds a Master’s degree in Engineering Physics.

The study, which was carried out together with scientists from San Diego, was published in the latest issue of the journal Biology Letters. The co-authors of the article were Patrick W. Moore, Lois Talmadge and Dorian S. Houser, who work at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in the USA.

“The findings add fuel to an already fierce debate in the research community on how the echolocation sound is produced”, says Josefin Starkhammar.

Dr Starkhammar’s own guess is that the two sound projections come from the two different sound-producing organs, the existence of which is well known, but it was believed that only one was active during echolocation. She stresses that more research is needed. For example, the two projections could also be explained by complicated reflections in the head of the dolphin, where the sound is formed.

“It is also somewhat remarkable that this has only been discovered now. Research has been carried out on dolphins and echolocation since the 1960s”, says Josefin Starkhammar.

One explanation as to why the discovery has taken so long is that this research requires recently developed and quite advanced measuring equipment and signal processing techniques. In addition, until now it has mostly been biologists who have conducted research on dolphins, and their expertise is often not in this specific area of technology. Furthermore, the research requires dolphins trained to answer scientific questions! The combination of marine biologists and engineers is ideal, in Josefin Starkhammar’s view.

To help her she has developed a device with 47 hydrophones (microphones for use in water).

“It is currently one of the best devices in the world for capturing dolphins’ ultrasound in water”, says Josefin Starkhammar, who has spent a lot of time testing and developing the equipment, including at Kolmården Wildlife Park, where one of her supervisors works. There she has also conducted other studies on dolphins and their echolocation.

Bats also use echolocation and there are a few species of shrew and some cave-dwelling birds which use a simpler form of the method. Even humans have developed devices that use echolocation and ultrasound technology.

“However, dolphins’ echolocation is in many ways much more sophisticated. Evolution has had the possibility to hone it over millions of years. Therefore, we humans have a lot to learn from dolphins. What is more, the knowledge could be important in finding ways to protect dolphins, for example from noise disturbance”, says Josefin Starkhammar.

For more information, please contact Josefin Starkhammar on josefin.starkhammar@elmat.lth.se or +46 706 171215.

Megan Grindlay | idw
Further information:
http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/o.o.i.s?id=12683&postid=1897933
http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2011/05/06/rsbl.2011.0396.full

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>