Ocean Life Navigates by Sound, Not Light

| Fri Jun. 1, 2007 7:34 PM EDT

Just spotted this passage in my fellow blogger Julia Whitty's book, The Fragile Edge:

Humans live by light, which travels fantastically well in air and in the trillions of miles of the blackest vacuum of space, yet barely penetrates three hundred feet into the water. As a result, we know more bout the surface of the moon than about the deep oceans; and precisely because the seas are largely dark, we mistake them for mysterious, when in fact they are as full of information as they are of water -- much of which we cannot register let alone understand. We may not be well-equipped to listen in, but the underwater world is an ideal conduit for sound, with the oceans divided into layers that speed or hamper sound's travels depending on temperature, salinity, chemistry, and pressure.

Wow.

Did you know that NASA's budget is around $16.8 billion, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's budget is less than $3.8 billion?