As we’re waiting for Happy Hour and our weekend to officially start, we’ve got a dose of ocean-related goodies to share in this installment of the Friday Smorgasbord. We could probably call this edition Dolphin Tales since there are a few stories related to this squeaky mammal, but there are some other tidbits worth reading. First off is a warming story about a pod of sperm whales that have seemingly adopted a deformed dolphin. Researchers noted the pod socializing and integrating the dolphin into it’s pod over the course of eight days. With a slower swimming speed due to a curved spine, the team feels the dolphin may have been bullied by its own kind and found a place of its own among the larger, slower swimming whale pod.
Here’s a touching video showing divers off the Kona Coast of Hawaii that helped free a dolphin tangled in fishing line. The team was observing manta rays when the dolphin swam into the vicinity and became entangled in the line. The video was taken by a production crew for Ocean Wings Hawaii, a manta ray tour organizer. In 2005, the World Wildlife Fund estimated that about 308,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises are killed by fishing gear each year.
A huge shark and ray conservation project got underway with the tagging of 22 manta rays and installing 40 monitors in the Dungonab Bay Marine Park in Sudan. This is the first time scientists have been out in the Red Sea near Sudan to monitor and protect the endangered manta ray in the area. This could be the beginning of larger missions in the area to create protected marine areas.
Ever wonder what effect a fishes shape has on the way it moves? Researchers are studying this and are getting behind the correlation between shape and movement — something that can help out in fish robotics and more. Kara Feilich, a graduate student in comparative biomechanics at Harvard University, used plastic strips and the tails of real fish attached to robotic flappers to figure out what shape of tail will propel a fish the fastest. She presented some of her results at the annual Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting earlier this month in San Francisco.
[via Physics Central]
The news is getting even worse for the grounded US Navy minesweeping ship that is grounded on a Philippine reef late last week. With too much damage to the ship, it looks as if the ship will not be able to be towed off the reef and might need to be airlifted off. The 224-foot-long,1,312-ton ship was on its way from Subic Bay, Philippines, to its next port call in Indonesia when it struck the reef, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) east-southeast of Palawan Island in the Sulu Sea, on January 17.
In the “Why Did We Even Add This Story?” category, all you McFans might be happy that McDonald’s says it will be the first national restaurant chain to carry a label from a group that certifies sustainable fishing practices. The blue “ecolabel” from the Marine Stewardship Council certifies that the Alaskan Pollock used in McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches come from suppliers with sustainable fishing practices.