The deepest parts of the ocean have no access to light.
For this reason,odontoceti developed a new technique of vision called echolocation. Echolocationconsists of various sounds emitted as brief bursts of impulses that bounce offan object and return as an echo to provide the distance, size and position ofthe object. Bottlenose Dolphins are one kind of odontoceti that usesecholocation.
The ability to echolocate help them navigate and communicate inthe ocean. Submarine technology has a system that adopted bottlenose dolphin’secholocation for navigation under the sea. With this in mind, it will bepresented how the echolocation of bottlenose dolphin works, how it applies tosubmarines and how the overall technology of submarines works. After these areconsidered, it will be clear that without the thorough knowledge provided bydolphin’s echolocation, today’s submarine communication would not be possible. Firstly,it is necessary to analyze the echolocation of the bottlenose dolphin. It isbelieved that dolphins did not always had the ability to echolocate.Echolocation is said to be developed at some point during evolution. The wonderof echolocation is primary the capacity of the dolphin to see under the ocean,although, seeing is a relative term for echolocation.
The bottlenose dolphindoes not really see the object or the animal in front of it, but knows exactlythe position, size, shape, texture, speed, density, distance and course of it. Asa result, the dolphin can navigate, locate prey, hunt, and protect itself frompredators. It is important to realize, that the bottlenose dolphin is not blind.The dolphin can see above water and under water were the light is stillpresent. Echolocation is needed in the deepest parts of the ocean where lightis not available. The echolocation has a series of steps that will be discussednow. Forstarter, the dolphin explores. Exploring is a particular movement of the headdone by dolphins.
After the dolphin explores, it emits a sound called click.This clicks are directional and last about 50 to 128 microseconds. The peakfrequencies for this type of dolphin is 40 to 130 kHz. The click travels to thedolphin’s melon, which consist of special fats called the acoustics lipids.
Themelon is like an acoustical lens that focus the click into a beam, which is directedto the target. Once, it reaches the target, it bounces back to the dolphin inthe form of an echo. The echo is received through the lower jaw bones, where itis conducted to the middle ear, inner ear, and the auditory never, and finallyto the hearing centers in the brain. According to the Center of Conservationand Research of Sea World Parks and Entertainment, “The brain receives thesound waves in the form of nerve impulses, which relay the messages of soundand enable the dolphin to interpret the sound’s meaning” (Sea World Parks andEntertainment, 2017).
Theclick produced by the dolphin must be long and loud enough to reach the object.Likewise, the echo must be short and loud enough to reach the dolphin. Theinformation received by the echo can be interpreted in a series of three step. Firstly,when the dolphins explores, it determines the course and orientation of theobjet. Secondly, the frequency of the sound gives the size, shape, density andtexture. Thirdly, the amplitude of the sound and the time elapsed between theemission and the received echo shows the distance and speed.
The sound frequencyof the clicks range from 2,000 to 10,000Hz. These frequencies cover the areasof infrasonic and ultrasonic frequencies that the human ear cannot perceive. Allof these details about the bottlenose dolphin were taken in to account when developingthe submarine. Proximately, the submarine technology will be discussed. Theunderstanding of bottlenose dolphin’s echolocation permitted the development ofthe SONAR system. The SONAR system is an artificial complex of echolocation.
Thissystem is used under water. When it is on the surface, the submarine uses the GPS(Global Positioning System) for navigation. However, GPS does not work underwater. Submarines use the SONAR (sound, navigation and ranging) system as amean of navigation in the depths of the ocean. The SONAR system is composed ofthe active sonar and the passive sonar. The active sonar, as the name suggest,is the active part of the SONAR system. It sends out pulses of sound waves thattravel through the water and hit the target.
Then, the sound is reflected offthe target as an echo. The echo reaches the submarine where it is interpreted. Thepassive sonar is in charge of the interpretation. Once, it is know the time thattook the sound wave to reach the target and come back, the computers calculatethe distance between the submarine and the target. This calculous is done bycomparing the information received as an echo and the speed of sound in water. Nowthat the submarine technology has been displayed, it will be compare the echolocationof the bottlenose dolphin and the submarine.
Asit is seen, the active sonar of submarines does the same function as the melonand mouth of the dolphin. It emits the sound waves and receives the echo’sinformation. On the other hand, the passive sonar functions as the lower jawbones, middle ear, inner ear, the auditory never and hearing centers in thebrain of dolphins. This part of the submarine translate the informationreceived as an echo, and thereby, the submarine knows what it is in front ofit.
The similitudes between these two are undeniable. The SONAR system’sattempt to imitate the behavior of dolphins and has been successful. Thisachievement has demonstrated that without the thorough knowledge of dolphin’secholocation, submarine’s technology would not be possible.