On the Air: August 1, 2021

When researchers at Oregon State University were studying the rumbling of Earth’s crust about a hundred miles offshore, they noticed something interesting. Whenever fin whales were around, they got some especially strong signals. So they’ve suggested that the whales might make good research assistants -- they could help probe the ocean floor and below.

That’s not the only way in which marine creatures could help us learn about the bottom of the sea. Scientists in Japan reported that sting rays and electric rays might help map the ocean floor.

In Print: August 1, 2021

Crown of thorns sea stars are dangerous predators on coral reefs. The sea stars are intimidating creatures that can grow to nearly a foot and a half across. Their multiple arms—up to 21 on a single individual—are covered in long, toxin-tipped spines, and they feed on coral. They can devastate entire reefs. One of the sea stars’ primary natural predators, the giant triton snail, is a threatened species, so it has been unable to prevent the crown of thorns from taking over massive coral reef regions in the Pacific Ocean.