Dugongs May Be Long Gone If Not Protected, Says Texas A&M Galveston Prof
It’s got a funny name and it looks even funnier. Dugongs will never win any beauty contests, and few people probably know what they are. But a Texas A&M University at Galveston researcher is trying to find ways to save the bulky underwater creatures from being just another marine species that has gone extinct. For starters, dugongs are distant cousins of manatees, together these creatures are more closely related to elephants than other marine mammals. (read more).
Deal to study dugongs in Qatari coastal waters
ExxonMobil Research Qatar (EMRQ), Qatar University (QU), and Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG) have signed a tri-party agreement to further environmental research and marine mammal initiatives relevant to Qatar (read more).
A New Initiative to Assess Dugongs of Qatar: Persistent Population or Population in Decline?
Dugongs of the Arabian Gulf are consistently referred to as the largest population of dugongs outside of Australia, and the most important region for dugongs in the western portion of their range. These statements are based upon Preen’s (1989) gulf-wide survey almost 30 years ago. While certain countries in the region, such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have made significant progress in understanding the natural history of Arabian Gulf dugongs, others have lagged behind (read more).
Dolphin Can Sense Electric Field
Fleeing fish beware: The Guiana dolphin has a super Spidey sense. But instead of danger, the dolphin detects faint electrical fields generated by such things as contracting muscles, a beating heart and pumping gills — telltale signs of potential prey. The dolphin is the first true mammal with these super sensory powers, scientists report. (read more)
California Wild - "Whiskers in the Dark"Like regular hairs, vibrissae are really just stout pillars of dead skin cells. It’s the fancy accessories hidden below the surface of the skin that make vibrissae special. All vibrissae are sunk in a follicle sealed by a capsule of blood, known as a blood sinus. Just as the air inside a balloon will shift when the balloon is squeezed, when a vibrissa is touched it bends and pushes blood against the opposite side of the sinus... (read more)
Science Now - The Hairy Senses of Manatees
The sluggish manatee, an endangered mammal that lives in tropical waters, may use its sparse body hairs much like a cat uses whiskers--to sense the surrounding environment. Researchers have found that the hairs are connected to many nerves, forming a sensory network, which could help Florida manatees navigate by detecting water pressure changes. That would make it the first mammal known to... (read more)