Marine Science

Oldest Antarctic Whale Found, Shows Fast Evolution

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 16, 2011   View Article

The oldest known whale to ply the Antarctic has been found, scientists say.

A 24-inch-long (60-centimeter-long) jawbone was recently discovered amid a rich deposit of fossils on the Antarctic Peninsula.

The creature, which may have reached lengths of up to 20 feet (6 meters), had a mouthful of teeth and likely feasted on giant penguins, sharks, and big bony fish, whose remains were also discovered with the jawbone.

IBM sees energy, money in motion of the ocean

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: October 31, 2011   View Article

The computer giant IBM sees a profitable future in high-tech analytical tools that could expedite and enhance the rollout of machines to turn the motion of the ocean into electricity.

Such machines, called wave energy converters, are under development around the world as a means to tap what appears to be a clean, green source of renewable energy — wave power.

New Shark Species Found in Food Market

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 1, 2011   View Article

It’s unlikely anyone’s ever complained, “Waiter, there’s a new species in my soup.” But the situation isn’t as rare as you might think.

A monkey, a lizard, and an “extinct” bird have all been discovered en route to the dinner plate, and now a new shark species joins their ranks, scientists report.

Fish taxonomists found the previously unknown shark at a market in Taiwan—no big surprise, according to study co-author William White.

Shrimp eyes inspire optical tech

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: June 27, 2011   View Article

The future of CD and DVD technology may be found in the eyes of peacock mantis shrimp, an international team of engineers recently reported.

The shrimp are one of the few animals in the world that are able to see circularly polarized light, the type of light used to make 3-D movies.

Scientists believe this ability is related to sexual signaling, Roy Caldwell, a biologist at the University of California at Berkeley, told me on Friday.

Military studies squid camouflage

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: April 25, 2011   View Article

The ability of octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish to instantaneously change the color and pattern of their skin to blend in with their surroundings has caught the eye of the U.S. military. Its goal is a new generation of high-tech camouflage.

The Office of Naval Research has awarded $6 million to a team of U.S. scientists to conduct the basic research required to make the squid-like camo. Precisely how the military will use the technology is classified, noted Roger Hanlon, a senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

A glowing snail? Now that’s scary!

Publication: Cosmic Log on MSNBC.com   Date: December 15, 2010   View Article

A tiny marine snail that looks as if it could be at home dangling from a Christmas tree emits its green glow to scare off would be predators, according to a new study.

The snail, Hinea brasiliana, is a type of clusterwink snail that is typically found bunched up in groups along rocky shorelines. The green glow results from a phenomenon known as bioluminescence — that is, light made by living animals.

Pictures: Giant Undersea Volcano Revealed

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 15, 2010   View Article

Captured by high-resolution cameras aboard a robotic submersible, mineral-rich water spews from hydrothermal vents in this June 30 picture of Kawio Barat, a massive undersea volcano off Indonesia.

During the past few weeks, the submerged volcano—one of the world’s largest—was mapped and explored in detail for the first time by a joint Indonesian-U.S. expedition north of the island of Sulawesi.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach