Noise

Decoding Spiny Lobsters’ Violin-Like Screech

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 28, 2004   View Article

In the same way that a child’s first week of violin lessons sends the family running for earplugs, so may the spiny lobster keep predators at bay, biologists say.

There are many species of this clawless lobster throughout the world, and they are the only animals known to make noise like an orchestra of violinists—though the lobsters’ sound is much more screech than sweet music.

Blue Whales Sing at Same Pitch, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 17, 2004   View Article

Luciano Pavarotti they’re not, but if blue whales ever build up a repertoire they could give the Italian opera singer a run for his money. The cetaceans have perfect pitch. So perfect, in fact, that it’s impossible to tell individuals apart from their calls.

“You might think that a big whale makes a lower sound than a small whale—they come in all different sizes—but they all make the same pitch,” said Roger Bland, a physicist at San Francisco State University in California.

Cicada Invasion Begins: Eastern U.S. Beset by Bugs

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 11, 2004   View Article

Brood X has arrived. Are you ready?

Billions of black, shrimp-size bugs with transparent wings and beady red eyes are beginning to carpet trees, buildings, poles, and just about anything else vertical in a wide region of the U.S. The invasion zone stretches from the eastern seaboard west through Indiana and south to Tennessee.

Military Sonar May Give Whales the Bends, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 8, 2003   View Article

Undersea noise from naval exercises appears to give beaked whales the bends, an ailment most commonly associated with scuba divers who rise to the ocean surface too quickly, according to a new study.

The finding comes from autopsies performed on beaked whales that stranded themselves on beaches in the Canary Islands four hours after military sonar activities commenced there September 24, 2002. The research is reported in the October 9 issue of Nature.

U.S. Navy Looks to Bats, Dolphins for Better Sonar

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 12, 2002   View Article

The ability of bats and dolphins to see at night and navigate the murky depths of the sea has long garnered the interest of the United States military.

“We would like to emulate this capability for the quick, accurate detection and classification of buried mines,” said Harold Hawkins, a program manager with the biosonar program at the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Virginia.

Snapping Shrimp Stun Prey with Flashy Bang

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 3, 2001   View Article

Among the fascinating creatures of the deep is a finger-size shrimp with an oversize claw—resembling a boxing glove—that it uses to stun its prey by snapping the claw shut. The snapping produces a sharp cracking sound.

When colonies of the shrimp snap their claws, the cacophony is so intense that submarines can take advantage of it to hide from sonar.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach