Swarms of caretaker robots will soon buzz around the damaged coral reefs of Scotland, re-cementing broken sections with utmost precision. Researchers at Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University are programming autonomous underwater vehicles to follow a set of simple rules, like bees in a swarm, to keep corals healthy.
Of all the ideas for dealing with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, this one may be closest to home — turn it into furniture. Until sea drones can be built to hoover it all up, this is as good a solution as any.
The Olympics ended on Sunday, but if we know our readers, many of you were still glued to your televisions as the Discovery Channel's Shark Week began, with hours upon hours of programming dedicated to these fearsome, fascinating creatures. We at PopSci have to confess to being equally intrigued by sharks, an interest that has continued throughout history.
Though, the farther back you go in our archives, the more our shark coverage seems less like scientific curiosity and more like bloodlust. We were only too happy when shark skin started being turned into leather, for example.
Dusky sharks do not live in the Pacific waters near the Republic of Kiribati. Neither do spottail sharks, nor the aptly named bignose sharks. But they used to live there at one point in the past -- right by the Gilbert Islands, according to anthropological evidence. Ancient shark-tooth weapons can serve as a record of past biodiversity, according to new ecological research.
A new underwater drone concept could seek and destroy one of the ocean’s most insidious enemies, while earning a profit for plastics recyclers. This marine drone can siphon plastic garbage, swallowing bits of trash in a gaping maw rivaling that of a whale shark.
Perhaps no creature packs a more intimidating punch — especially relative to its size — than the peacock mantis shrimp. It feasts on snails, crabs and other mollusks and crustaceans by smashing through their shells with its front hammer-like claws, delivering 500 Newtons of force. This is powerful enough to punch through aquarium glass.