Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Fish

Scientists have created a rudimentary data storage device using salmon DNA (Photo: Isaac W...

Salmon ... they’re good to eat, provide a livelihood for fishermen, are an important part of their ecosystem, and now it seems that they can store data. More specifically, their DNA can. Scientists from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany have created a “write-once-read-many-times” (WORM) memory device, that combines electrodes, silver nanoparticles, and salmon DNA. While the current device is simply a proof-of-concept model, the researchers have stated that DNA could turn out to be a less expensive alternative to traditional inorganic materials such as silicon.  Read More

A new study suggests that exposure to titanium oxide nanoparticles causes rainbow trout to...

In just the past few years, nanotechnology has brought technological advances in almost every field imaginable – patches that regenerate heart tissue, water-powered batteries and better biofuels are just a few examples. As with just about any new technology, however, concerns have been raised regarding its safety. We’ve never experienced anything quite like it before, so how far should we trust it? According to a recent study conducted at the University of Plymouth, the answer to that question might be “Not very far.” In tests on rainbow trout, titanium oxide nanoparticles were found to cause damage to the brain and other parts of the central nervous system.  Read More

The Velella Research Project's Aquapod, adrift off the coast of Hawaii

There are a number of reasons that many people are opposed to fish farming. Among other things, they claim that the caged fish release too much concentrated waste into the surrounding waters, too many antibiotics and anti-algal chemicals are used, the ecological balance is upset when non-native fish escape from their pens, and strain is put on populations of local fish that are captured for use in feed for carnivorous farmed fish. Unfortunately, wild-fish-capturing methods such as drift net fishing and bottom trawling have big problems of their own. A new system that involves raising fish in mesh spheres that float in the open ocean, however, is claimed to sidestep many of the drawbacks of traditional marine aquaculture. The Velella Research Project is pioneering the technology.  Read More

The Desktop Jellyfish Tank is an aquarium designed specifically for the keeping of jellyfi...

Jellyfish are definitely fascinating creatures, that are almost hypnotizing to watch ... you could say, they’re the lava lamps of the animal kingdom. Unfortunately for aquarists, however, they also can’t be kept in a regular aquarium, as they’ll get sucked into the water filtration intakes. That’s why Duke University Biology and Environmental Science alumnus Alex Andon started experimenting with adapting regular aquaria to make them jellyfish-friendly. After having some success with selling these converted tanks online, he decided to start making them from scratch. His San Francisco company, Jellyfish Art, is now marketing them as the Desktop Jellyfish Tank.  Read More

Air Swimmers are remote-control model fish, that swim through the air

Should someone tell you “Last night, I saw a great white shark swimming through my living room,” don’t assume that they’re crazy. It could be that what they saw was an Air Swimmer. The remote-control toys (which are available as a shark or a clown fish) are able to swim through the air, turning, diving and climbing on command. Now all we need is an RC model penguin, that flies underwater.  Read More

The SMART Hook is said to reduce unintended shark catches

In fisheries all over the world, many fish are caught using a process known as pelagic longlining. This consists of fishing crews traveling out into the open ocean and deploying a series of baited hooks that are all attached to one horizontal main line, that can range from 20 to 40 miles (32 to 64 km) in length. After being left to sit in the water for a period of time, the line is hauled abroad a fishing vessel, where the fishes that took the bait are removed from the hooks. Unfortunately, even though they're not usually one of the targeted species, sometimes sharks will be among the fish captured. A new type of fish hook, however, is said to reduce unintended shark catches by up to 94 percent.  Read More

The FishEyes rod and reel features a submersible video camera, that providers anglers with...

When you cast a fishing lure out into the water and it goes beneath the surface, it enters a dark, mysterious world that you can only imagine. Perhaps that’s overstating things a bit, but the fact is, you can’t see where it is or what’s around it. A fish finder can provide you with some basic information (if you’re in a boat) but it doesn’t actually show you what it looks like down there. That’s where the FishEyes Rod and Reel with Underwater Video Camera comes in. Its built-in color LCD screen provides you with a live image of your lure, and any fish that happen to be near it.  Read More

By tagging cod fish with data logging thermometers, European scientists have attained a be...

With the advent of robust, miniaturized electronic devices, an increasingly common method of studying wild animals involves temporarily attaching data-logging sensors directly to them. Some readers might have seen point-of-view video footage obtained with National Geographic's "Crittercam," for instance, or heard about the study where the migratory routes of Arctic terns were determined by putting tiny light loggers on the birds. Now, a consortium of scientists from nine European research institutions have tagged cod fish with mini-thermometers, to find out how they will be able to cope with rising ocean temperatures.  Read More

Researchers are looking at introducing sea cucumbers to fish farms, where they could clean...

Marine net-pen fish farms aren’t popular with environmentalists for a number of reasons, one of the main ones being the amount of fish feces and uneaten food that they release into the surrounding ocean. In the UK, help for that problem may be coming in the form of the sea cucumber. Despite its name, the sea cucumber is an animal, that resembles a big slug and is about the same size as ... well, as a cucumber, or sometimes larger. Given that sea cukes subsist on organic matter that they scavenge from the sea floor, scientists at Newcastle University have proposed that they be introduced to fish farms where they could process waste. After eating all that fish poop, some of the cucumbers could then be served up as gourmet cuisine for humans.  Read More

Researchers have created an underwater robot that swims in any direction using just one fi...

Ask anyone who keeps freshwater tropical fish to name the top five most exotic, bizarre fish available to hobbyists, and chances are the black ghost knife fish will be in there. Besides looking incredibly cool, these Amazon basin creatures have two rather unusual characteristics: they can sense all around themselves by generating a weak electrical field, and they can move in any direction, thanks to an undulating ribbon-like fin that runs along the length of their underside. In an effort to replicate that form of maneuverability for use in man-made submersibles, a team led by Northwestern University mechanical and biomedical engineer Dr. Malcolm MacIver has created the GhostBot – an underwater robot that moves via a knife fish-like fin.  Read More

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