Mine-Clearing Dolphins To Be Replaced By NAVY Robots

U.S. Navy-trained dolphins and sea lions have helped detect and disable underwater mines for decades. But a growing swarm of robots will allow the Navy’s squads of sea mammals to begin retiring by 2017, the Navy says. The sea mammals have used their natural sonar or low-light vision to help detect mine threats and even […]
U.S. Navy-trained dolphins and sea lions have helped detect and disable underwater mines for decades. But a growing swarm of robots will allow the Navy’s squads of sea mammals to begin retiring by 2017, the Navy says. The sea mammals have used their natural sonar or low-light vision to help detect mine threats and even call out enemy divers since the 1960s — dolphins in particular helped mark mines during the Persian Gulf War and Iraq War. Their exemplary service is drawing to a close as the Navy turns to a growing fleet of cheaper robots to do the job. Navy-trained sea mammals underwent different types of training depending on their capabilities. For instance, dolphins used their biological sonar to detect the location of sea mines so that they could report back to human handlers with yes or no responses. They could also mark mine locations with buoy lines, or even prepare to disable the mines by attaching explosive charges to them. The impending retirement of the Navy’s sea mammals is part of the broader trend of the U.S. military using robots. Navy efforts include testing robot boats armed with missiles and experimenting with its large X-47B drone capable of taking off from the decks of aircraft carriers.
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Would You Like To Listen To The Deep Ocean? Here is your chance.

The underwater environment of the world’s oceans is fill with a variety of sounds.  Most aquatic animals use sound for communications between members of their species.  The reason for all this cacophony is that sounds propagates well in water and covers longer distances. The advance of modern technology causes the increase in anthropogenic sources of sound […]
The following image shows an overview of dolphin presence at the ANTARES observatory during May 2010. In this case the indicator measures the strength of whistle content found in the acoustic data.
The underwater environment of the world’s oceans is fill with a variety of sounds.  Most aquatic animals use sound for communications between members of their species.  The reason for all this cacophony is that sounds propagates well in water and covers longer distances. The advance of modern technology causes the increase in anthropogenic sources of sound that affects the marine life.  There are multiple cases of whales beaching themselves that were recorded in recent years.  On the occasions listed below testing of mid-frequency to low-frequency active sonar was conducted in the area.
  • 1996: 12 Cuvier’s beaked whales beached in Greece
  • 1999: 4 beaked whales beached in the US Virgin Islands
  • 2000: 3 beaked whales beached in Madeira
  • 2002: 14 different whales beached in the Canary Islands
  At best, the whales hear the “clicks” and change their hunting grounds not returning to the same spot for a few years.  There is also evidence that they change their “song” and make it louder. This causes a lot of concern to the marine biologists around the world.  A new project called LIDO or “Listening to the Deep Ocean environment” has emerged recently.  It proposes to establish a first nucleus of a regional network of multidisciplinary seafloor observatories contributing to the coordination of high quality research in the ESONET NoE by allowing the long-term monitoring of Geohazards and Marine Ambient Noise in the Mediterranean Sea and the adjacent Atlantic waters.     You can listen to the marine sounds around the world on their site.  Please click on the link below.  This is quite a unique experience to be able to hear underwater sounds across the globe. http://www.listentothedeep.com/acoustics/index2.php?web=lidoearth&lang=en If you  wish to enhance your understanding of the underlying principles of underwater and engineering acoustics needed to evaluate the impact of anthropogenic noise on marine life, please attend ATI’s Underwater Acoustics for Biologists and Conservation Managers course that will be presented on October 17-20, 2011 in Seattle, WA.
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