Marine Science

Flushing Nemo? Pet fish pose ocean threat

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 10, 2013   View Article

Exotic and colorful aquarium fish, such as those made famous by the Disney film “Finding Nemo,” are escaping to the open ocean in real life and disrupting marine ecosystems, according to a new report on the spread of invasive species.

More than 11 million non-native aquarium fish and plants — from tropical fish to seaweed and snails, representing 102 species — are imported annually through the California ports of Los Angeles and San Francisco, the report found.

G’day, mate! Ocean-crossing robot reaches Australia

Publication: NBC News   Date: December 5, 2012   View Article

A robotic wave glider recently pulled into an Australian bay, marking the end of a record-setting 9,000-nautical-mile journey in the name of science and technology.

The Papa Mau robot is one of four wave gliders launched from San Francisco on Nov. 17, 2011. En route, it weathered gale-force winds, fended off sharks and gathered an unprecedented amount of data on weather and ocean conditions that is now available online for anyone to use.

Robotic tuna fish to sniff out homeland threats

Publication: NBC News   Date: September 20, 2012   View Article

Would-be terrorists hoping to sneak weapons and other contraband through U.S. ports on and in the hulls of ships may be thwarted by a robotic tuna fish under development for the government.

The BIOSwimmer robofish is able to overcome so-called position-keeping problems experienced by traditional underwater robots that are powered by vertical and horizontal thrusters, according to the David Taylor, program manager for the robot at the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate.

Artificial jellyfish engineered out of rat heart muscles

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 22, 2012   View Article

Scientists have made an artificial jellyfish out of rat heart muscles and rubbery silicon. When given an electric shock, it swims just like the real thing.

Future versions should be able to swim and feed by themselves.

“That then allows us to extend their lifetime,” John Dabiri, a professor of aeronautics and bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology, told me.

Real fish find robotic one attractive

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: June 8, 2012   View Article

When we all become mindless automatons following around a mechanical leader, we may look back on an innocent-sounding robotic fish experiment playing out today as the beginning of the end.

A team of U.S. and Italian researchers report they’ve successfully attracted individual and shoals of live zebrafish to cluster around a robot built to resemble a fertile female of their own kind, with biologically appealing stripes and coloring.

The feat is the latest milestone on a path to using autonomous robots in an open body of water to monitor and control fish behavior in order to protect them, according to the team.

Robot lifeguards hit the beach in time for summer

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: May 29, 2012   View Article

Just in time for the summer season, so-called robot lifeguards are hitting the beach on both coasts of the U.S.

“E.M.I.L.Y. is a means to assist lifeguards and first responder who respond to drowning victims,” Bob Lautrup, the robot’s co-inventor and president of Hydronalix told me Monday.

Pardon me: Did a robot just hear fish farts?

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 29, 2012   View Article

A torpedo-shaped robot that bobbed up and down along the Florida coast to map sound production by red grouper and toadfish has detected what appears to be the unmistakable sound of herring passing gas.

That is, a robot heard what scientists believe to be fish farts.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach