Much research has focused on the negative impacts of noise pollution and their effects on marine mammals. However, a recent study on a group of cunning seals has revealed how animals could be using man-made noises to their advantage. It was discovered that grey seals (halichoerus grypus) can use the noise beamed out by acoustic fish tags to navigate and locate food. In randomised experiments, these clever pups managed to successfully located boxes containing tagged fish (amongst empty boxes and ones with non-tagged fish) with remarkable efficiency. It would be interesting to see whether they are using these intelligent behaviours to navigate and enhance foraging success in the wild.
Underwater photographer Mark Kirkland took this playful photo at the Northumberland coast. The Farne Islands are home to a very large grey seal colony, where a whopping 6000 of them can be spotted – including several hundreds of pups, which are born there every year between September and November.
Eva Spielvogel is studying for an MSc in Science Media Production
Image: Mark Kirkland