Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How is that whale listening?

04.02.2008
Researchers from San Diego State University and the University of California have been using computer models to mimic the effects of underwater noise on an unusual whale species and have discovered a new pathway for sound entering the head and ears.

Advances in Finite Element Modeling (FEM), Computed tomography (CT) scanning, and computer processing have made it possible to simulate the environment and anatomy of a Cuvier’s beaked whale when a sonar signal is sent out or received by the whale.

The research paper, published today, Monday, February 4, 2008, in the Institute of Physics’ Journal, Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, is a catalyst for future research that could end years of speculation about the effects of underwater sound on marine mammals.

FEM is a technique borrowed from engineering used, for example, to simulate the effect of an earthquake on a building. By inputting the exact geometry and physical properties of a building the effect of forces such as an earthquake, or in this case noise vibrations, can be accurately predicted.

Dr Cranford of San Diego State University triggered the research into Cuvier’s beaked whales almost ten years ago when he undertook the first ever CT scan of a large whale, which provided researchers with the very complex anatomic geometry of a sperm whale’s head.

Dr Cranford said, “I think that the methods developed for this research have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the impact of noise on marine organisms."

Since 1968, it has been believed that noise vibrations travel through the thin bony walls of toothed whales’ lower jaw and onto the fat body attached to the ear complex. This research shows however that the thin bony walls do not transmit the vibrations. In fact they enter through the throat and then pass to the bony ear complex via a unique fatty channel.

Despite the Cuvier’s beaked whale being a rare and little-known specie, Dr Cranford and his team started the work on it because over recent years there have been instances when this type of whale has stranded after exposure to intense sound, making them an ideal starting point for research into underwater communication.

Charlie Wallace | alfa
Further information:
http://www.iop.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors
20.07.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

nachricht Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information
19.07.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>