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 Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>