SCUBA News 241
(ISSN 1476-8011)

SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011)
Issue 241 - July 2020

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What's new at SCUBA Travel?
Dolphin talk
Diving news from around the World
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What's New at SCUBA Travel?


Croatia's Islands

Croatia has 66 inhabited islands and much of the best diving is off these. EU, EEA and UK nationals can freely enter.

AquaMarine Diving - Bali

AquaMarine Diving - Bali
10% off published prices, free rental gear and an AquaMarine Goodie-Bundle when you use code ScubaTravelUK2020 at

Dolphin Talk

by Poppy Reay-Robinson

With their large brains dolphins have many factors in common with humans and great apes.

Dolphins communicate primarily audibly. Whilst the sounds themselves are easy to record the actual meaning of the noises and what the role of it is, is more difficult to decipher.

Whistling Dolphin

Some members of the dolphin family don't produce whistles whilst for others it is very important for communication.

Spotted Dolphin
Photo credit: Tim Nicholson

Each bottlenose dolphin (the most commonly studied dolphin) produces a signature whistle and that comprises a large proportion of the vocal noises it makes.

These signature whistles are most commonly heard when a dolphin is isolated from the rest of the pod, when making contact with others or by a mother frequently whistling to help her calf recognise her.

Underwater pod of Dolphins
Photo credit: Jill Studholme

Dolphins develop their signature whistle early. The process by which a young dolphin chooses its call is still unknown: they appear to learn parts from other dolphins.

They're able to recognise signature whistles of associates they've encountered over periods of more than 20 years.

They also copy other dolphins signature whistles which seems to call other dolphins, much like how humans use names. In fact, dolphins can also precisely replicate human-made whistles.

The large amount of non signature whistles need much more studying.

Dolphins towards dusk
Photo credit: Jill Studholme

Pops - Courtship and Aggression

Dolphins also produce low frequency "pops" which are linked to echolocation.

"Pops" with higher frequencies are associated with male courtships of females. More frequent pops with head jerks from males are aggression towards other males.

It's similar to birds with males whistling to attract females whilst repelling other males.

Non-Verbal Signs

Like humans, dolphins effectively communicate without vocal sound. Tail slaps - hitting the water with their tails - produce a loud sound and shock waves that can stun fish. This behaviour is a warning. In County Clare on the west coast of Ireland is a lone dolphin - "Dusty". She is often friendly and interacts with people, especially those she knows. But when strangers swim up to her and get too close she can become agitated. Like a dog baring its teeth, Dusty slaps the water to show that she is not happy. In 2013, when her signals were ignored, she attacked a swimmer causing serious injury.

It was Dusty who sparked my lifelong interest in dolphins. When I was around 8 years old I was paddling in the sea at Fanore when Dusty swam up right next to me. She was gentle and let me stroke her and I have been fascinated with dolphins ever since.

Diving News From Around the World

Our round up of the best underwater news stories of the past month. For breaking news see our Twitter page or RSS feed


Sharks 'extinct' on 20% of world's reefs
But hope lies in key conservation measures. The best performing nations, in comparison to the average of their region, included Australia, the Bahamas, the Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, the Maldives and the United States.

Dolphin foraging for shells

Shelling out for dinner - dolphins learn foraging skills from peers
A new study demonstrates for the first time that dolphins can learn foraging techniques outside the mother-calf bond - showing that they have a similar cultural nature to great apes.

Diver amphora

Greece opens its first underwater museum
The site will be open to tours from licensed guides from August 3 to October 2, allowing divers to explore the wreck of a ship that went down off the protected islet of Pertistera in the 5th century BC carrying a cargo of hundreds of amphoras of wine.

Dolphin friends

Young dolphins pick their friends wisely
Dolphins choose childhood friends that set them up for success as adults

Diver picking up mask on sea bed

The masks you throw away could end up killing a whale
Globally we are using 129 billion face masks and 65 billion plastic gloves every month, according to some estimates. Divers and observers are spotting more of this discarded waste floating underwater, causing problems for wildlife and washing up on shorelines all over the world.

Covid-19 representation

In Cell Studies, Seaweed Extract Outperforms Remdesivir in Blocking COVID-19 Virus
In a test of antiviral effectiveness against the virus that causes COVID-19, an extract from edible seaweeds substantially outperformed remdesivir, the current standard antiviral used to combat the disease.


Kelp found off Scotland dates back 16,000 years to last ice age
It is hoped the discovery could help show how marine plant life survives extreme changes in climate.

Well lit bridge over sea

Artificial night sky poses serious threat to coastal species
The artificial lighting which lines the world's coastlines could be having a significant impact on species that rely on the moon and stars to find food, new research suggests.

Tiger shark

Revealed: Tiger sharks' travels and preferred hangouts in the Gulf of Mexico
Like other highly migratory sharks, tiger sharks often cross international boundaries. Scientists now know exactly where they like to go in the Gulf of Mexico.

SCUBA News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. This means we are happy for you to reuse our material for both commercial and non-commercial use as long as you: credit the name of the author, link back to the SCUBA Travel website and say if you have made any changes. Some of the photos though, might be copyright the photographer. If in doubt please get in touch.

Photo credits: Tim Nicholson, Jill Studholme, Kristin Riser, Jianye Sui

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