Scientists say not all Orcas are the same

Scientists in the Pacific Northwest are making the case for separate identification of two orca populations.

Orcas, also known as Killer whales, are one of the most widespread animals on Earth and have long been known as only one species, Orcinus orca, with different forms in various regions known as “ecotypes.”

Biologists have increasingly recognised differences between “resident” and “Bigg’s” ecotypes. Resident killer whales maintain tight-knit family pods and prey on salmon and other marine fish. Bigg’s killer whales, sometimes known as transients, roam in smaller groups, preying on other marine mammals such as seals and whales. (Killer whales actually belong to the dolphin family.)

Full details available at: NOAA Fisheries 27mar24

Has your Blue Robotics camera failed?

Blue Robotics has identified a potential issue with their Mount for USB Camera (BR-100254) affecting the Low-Light USB Camera (BR-100126) updated in November 2021. The camera mount did not provide for the relocation of three resistors on the left side of the camera so, when mounted, the camera would press directly on these (very small) parts. Depending on the torque used to fasten the camera to the mount, some or all of these resistors could crack, leading to the camera’s failure.

If you have experienced a recent camera failure, please take high resolution photos of the board (see example below) and, if you bought the camera from us, contact us for a replacement camera and mount (make sure to supply photos).

If you sourced the camera from Blue Robotics directly, please use this link to contact Blue Robotics Support to log your issue.

Using ROVs to monitor sea cucumber stocks in WA

The Department of Primary Industries and Sustainable Development has been using ROVs to conduct marine invertebrate surveys in Western Australia:

“Utilising the ROVs rather than having divers in the water is about personal safety for our researchers to avoid potential injury from hazardous marine life in the Kimberley waters, including crocodiles, sharks and lethal box and irukandji jellyfish,” [DPIRD Principal Research Scientist Lachlan Strain from the Aquatic Science and Assessment branch] said.

https://www.wa.gov.au/government/announcements/catching-sea-cucumbers-camera-helps-vital-research

Full announcement at: WA.gov.au 20mar24

Congrats to this year’s Subs In Schools National Champions!

Huge congratulations are in order for all the schools, students, and teachers who participated in last week’s 2024 Subs In Schools National Finals, hosted in St. Peters, SA. It was an event filled with excitement and learning, and it looked like everyone had a fantastic time!

Let’s give a big shout out to the winners in each category!

ROV Development Class:

  • National Champions: Trident from Wagga Wagga Christian College in NSW
  • Second Place: Octobots from Carine Senior High School in WA
  • Third Place: Dolphins from Newton Moore Senior High School in WA

ROV Professional Class:

  • National Champions: Trident from Brighton Secondary School in SA
  • Second Place: Sea Tech Savant from Hampton Senior High School in WA
  • Third Place: Nautilunar from Parramatta Marist High School in NSW

Submarine Class:

  • National Champions: Team Oceanus Systems from St. Philip’s Christian College (Newcastle Campus) in NSW
  • Second Place: Orca from Wagga Wagga Christian College in NSW
  • Third Place: Nautilus from The Heights School in SA