YOUR WEEKLY BRIEFING FROM PARLEY
A mind-blowing new study suggests that whales witnessed the naval battles of World World II, as ships and submarines clashed in waters ranging from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific. The research reveals that whales experienced a physical stress response during the war, and also when they were hunted on an industrial scale in the 1920s and 1930s. Using samples from the Natural History Museum in the UK and the Smithsonian in the US, scientists examined whale earplugs; a waxy material continually formed within the ear canal throughout a whale’s lifespan. Earplugs contain fats and proteins which reveal the type and quantities of hormones inside a whale's body at various points of its life, offering insights into its experiences. The data suggests that naval battles and underwater bombs, for example, may have been a source of stress. Baleen whales may be particularly affected during the global conflict, because they migrate so far around the world during their lifetimes, increasing the chances of them coming into contact with battles at sea.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has announced dramatic plans to help the Northwest killer whale population recover — including $1.1 billion in spending and a partial whale-watching ban. Starved by a lack of salmon, poisoned by contaminants, and buffeted by vessel noise, the orcas that live in the waters between Washington state and Vancouver Island have failed to reproduce in the past 3 years.
Environmental groups sued the Trump administration this week over offshore drilling tests, launching a legal fight against a proposal that has drawn bipartisan opposition along the Atlantic Coast. The lawsuit filed in South Carolina claims the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
Our blue planet spins suspended in outer space—and it hums, too, according to European researchers. They recently found the Earth's incessant hum originates from the bottom of the ocean. The researchers combed through 11-months' worth of seismometer records covering a patch of more than 1,200 square miles on the Indian Ocean floor east of Madagascar to pinpoint the sound.
The US government has announced the launch of a new £60m innovation challenge, designed to accelerate the development of greener packaging. The programme will be delivered through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and is earmarked to support the development of new forms of packaging and plastic, smart packaging labels, and the wider use of recycled materials.