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Pretty Cool Technology Allows Science To See Largest Animal Group Ever Observed

by amanda on March 28, 2009 · 0 comments

in misc

An article in Science this month found that Atlantic herring form “mega-shoals” of hundreds of millions of fish that span dozens of square kilometers.

It’s the first time scientists have seen so many animals together. To me, the most interesting observation is that small sets of fish emerged as the leaders and the entire shoal would follow them. The scientists noticed a rapid progression from disorganized single fish groups to a massive, synchronized group as the population grew.

Pretty cool stuff. This finding suggests that regardless of animal species or group size, all animals display this kind of pattern.

It’s the first time they’ve seen this behaviors because they are using a new OAWRS technology that can take snapshots of an 100-square-kilometer area every 75 seconds. Previously, the limits of high-frequency beans were about 100 meters. OAWRS sends out lower wavelength sound waves that travel further through the ocean.

What does this mean? Besides being pretty cool, understanding how these how these fish spawn and behave may help in their conservation. The most important thing to their conservation is being able to track how the numbers of fish are falling. Giving people hard data on fish populations is an important beginning to getting money for conservations efforts and getting people to want to conserve them.

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