YOUR WEEKLY BRIEFING FROM PARLEY
Nearly fifty years ago, military sonar installations first detected the haunting sounds of whales calling out across the vast depths of the planet’s oceans. Research soon revealed that whales actually sing to each other, forming complex songs that evolve with the seasons. Now, scientists have called for a wide-scale ban on the use of sonar to protect whale populations after a study highlighted a link between the military sound pulses and mass strandings in which dozens of the mammals have died.
Marine biologists have long warned that the creatures' senses could be damaged by sonar, with the unfamiliar noises coming from vessels confusing the animals. Experts said the mammals often attempt to swim away from the sound source, leading them to become disorientated. For deep-diving marine species such as the beaked whale, which was the focus of the new study, sonar can lead the animals to ascend too rapidly, causing decompression sickness and, ultimately, death.
TAKE ACTION – CREATE YOUR OWN MUSIC WITH WHALES
A group of seals took over a California beach during the federal government shutdown — and won’t give it back. It’s unclear whether the initial incursion happened stealthily at night or brazenly during the day — but authorities are almost certain the invasion occurred by sea. Federal employees who returned from the month-long partial government shutdown decided that it was probably not worth the effort to relocate the roughly 90 individuals.
OCEANS & HEALTH
Shellfish like oysters and mussels have the potential to revolutionize human health research, according to a new article. Just like humans, oysters are exposed to bacteria and viruses, but oysters fend off these pathogens without the aid of antibodies, the proteins that mammal immune systems use to attack disease. Clams sometimes contract a contagious cancer, which they can cure themselves of – also without antibodies.
An interesting take on the economic perils and potential of investing in climate change solutions from Forbes – which writes that many people simply do not perceive the effects of climate change as exerting a significantly negative impact on the economy or on their daily lives. This perception will soon change, they say, but one big issue for investors is that it is impossible to know what event or tipping point will cause this change.
Every single animal washed up on Britain’s shore that was examined by scientists in a new study had traces of plastic in its stomach. In results that have been described as “ominous” by anti-plastic campaigners, all of the 50 beached seals, whales and dolphins included in the study presented microplastics. Researchers from the University of Exeter and Plymouth found that a staggering 84% of these microplastics had come from synthetic fibres.