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Dial-a-dolphin on your mobile

HDN | 8/7/2003 12:00:00 AM |

DUBLIN- Mobile phone users worldwide will soon be able to dial-a-dolphin if a scheme to record their underwater conversations proves a success. Scientists at a dolphin sanctuary off the west coast of Ireland have teamed up with British mobile telecoms

DUBLIN- Mobile phone users worldwide will soon be able to dial-a-dolphin if a scheme to record their underwater conversations proves a success.

Scientists at a dolphin sanctuary off the west coast of Ireland have teamed up with British mobile telecoms giant Vodaphone to transmit the clicking and whistling sounds of bottlenose dolphins.

"In theory you could phone up and listen to dolphins while sitting in a traffic jam in Dublin," said marine biologist Simon Berrow, of the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation, based in Kilrush, County Clare.

As well as its use as a possible stress reliever, the project could also lead to a greater understanding of the life of dolphins and could prove helpful to dolphin-watchers who will be able to check if the creatures are in the Shannon estuary before starting out from shore.

The aim is to install underwater microphones in the estuary, the only place in Ireland where dolphins are resident all year round.

One difficulty is that dolphins use a wide frequency band when they communicate, of which humans can hear only a fraction.

"The Shannon is also a tough environment in that we have to cope with strong currents and the swell coming in from the Atlantic," Berrow said.

Reuters

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