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shark fins in a shallow lagoon

6 August 2015

At http://phys.org/print357476870.html … University of Southampton researchers have found the behaviour of fruit flies can be altered by an electric field. The wings of the insects are disturbed by static electricity which appear to cause neuro-chemical changes in their brains (if that is the right term).

The Times had a picture of sharks (actually, just the fins of around 50 sharks) in the shallow water of a nature reserve near Chichester in Sussex. An RSPB warden filmed dozens of the 5 feet long sharks as they fed on crabs. They were smooth hounds (or gummy sharks) and are usually found offshore – but in coastal waters. They don't normally come close to the shore in these sort of numbers, we are told. They were swimming in water that was only knee deep. However, 6 smooth hounds were seen in Pagham Harboour, Bognor, back in June (2015), and that is a stone throw away.

Another unusual visitor turned up off a nature reserve in Kenya – a sub Antarctic fur seal. It has fur to keep itself warm – yet here it was in tropical water (see http://phys.org/print357199286.html). It was caught up in the nets of fishermen who asked the advice of wardens at the reserve. The sea dog, as the locals named it, and we can see that it looks a bit like a dog in the sea, all furry and bouncy, is normally found in sub Antarctic waters. It had swam all the way up from the Southern Ocean  and was put back into the sea and told to get on its way – let's hope a big shark doesn't spot it on the way home.

The fact that it had travelled so far north may have something to do with the situation down south at the moment – rising amounts of sea ice. However, the spokesperson takes the opposite view and suggests global warming was responsible – it was getting used to warmer water at the South Pole. Obviously the spokesperson had fallen for the propaganda and appeared to really think it was getting warm down south. What a surprise.

Meanwhile, at http://phys.org/print357284640.html … back in the Southern Ocean the food web in Antarctic waters is being studied, exploring the link between bacteria and phytoplankton blooms.

At http://phys.org/print357293151.html … we are told Atlantic cod are at risk from noise created by windfarms and various offshore developments. University of Stirling researchers say wind farm noise reduces the rates of egg production and fertilisation – especially on the shallow banks of the North Sea. That was on July 28th. One week later and we are told the government has announced it has given the green light for a huge wind farm to be built on Dogger Bank (in shallow waters favoured by fish stocks). No doubt the CAGW troughers will be pleased – putting their pockets before the livelihood of fishermen and the fish on the plates of Joe Public (who subsidises the wind farms).

Finally, at http://phys.org/print357468629.html … it you like your peanut butter and jam spread on your oatmeal patties you'll be happy to know a new variety of peanut has been developed – with a longer shelf life and packed with fatty acids high in oleic.

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