When sea flower is an underwater threat
The world is bracing for a sea flower apocalypse as we look to the future.
The Australian Defence Force is looking at new technologies that could help fight the sea flower threat, but scientists say the real threat is more serious.
Key points:Australia is working on a new weapon to combat the sea florida threatSea floridas are tiny, venomous jellyfish that feed on dead coral reefs and other marine life.
They are also a key target for fishing vessels.
Researchers are exploring a new technology that could slow them down, potentially deterring the jellyfish attack.
“The main thing that is driving this is the fact that these are very fast-moving, they are quite mobile and they are not very easy to control,” said Dr Sarah Wilson, an oceanographer with the Marine Conservation Society.
“They are very easily attracted to bait that they find in the sea and that’s where they’re able to move into deeper waters.”
Sea flors are small, venomously jellyfish found in tropical waters around Australia and around the world.
“These sea flora are very small and they feed on the dead coral and these reefs are very important to the reef ecosystem,” Dr Wilson said.
“If they got into the reef they would really be devastating for that particular area and it would be devastating in terms of the coral reef ecosystem.”
“They would be able to go up and out and destroy the coral and that would have a cascading effect on that area.”
Australia’s Defence Force (DFA) has been working on developing a new, underwater weapon that could stop the jellyflora from harming marine life and deterring vessels.
“What we’ve done is taken this into the water, and it’s been a real interesting challenge,” Defence Force Technical Officer and underwater scientist Dr Sarah Wood said.
Dr Wilson said the research was the result of years of work to create a new underwater weapon, but that the technology was only now beginning to develop.
“We are in the very early stages, but it’s certainly a promising one,” she said.’
Totally new’ technologySea floras are about the size of a grain of rice, but are also incredibly slow moving and they move through the water very quickly.
The DFA has been developing a technology to slow them to a crawl.
“One of the things that we’ve been doing is actually doing some of the research and trying to understand what is actually happening on the sea floor, and that is the technology we’re developing right now,” Dr Wood said, adding the technology could be used for “any sort of situation that could come up”.
“It’s completely new technology and it may not be available for commercial applications, but we’re doing it to see if it could be useful in some other applications.”
The new technology could potentially slow down the jelly floras from moving too fast, but could also deter boats that are unable to keep up.
Dr Wood said it was a “game changer” because it was “very likely” that boats could not keep up with the jelly’s speed.
“In some areas the jelly can be moving quite quickly and in other areas it’s moving slower, so if you are not able to keep your boats up with it then that’s going to have an impact on your ability to operate in that area,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“So we think this technology will really help us with that.”
She said the technology would work on any water surface, but was most likely most effective at depths of 300m.
Dr Brown said the DFA had also been working to develop a “dolphin killer” weapon, which could be “slimmed down” to a size that could be carried by a small boat.
“That’s probably a really good technology, but they’re still developing the technology,” he said.
Topics:disasters-and-accidents,hongkong-democratic-peoples-republic-of,japanFirst posted April 25, 2020 14:59:08More stories from Western Australia