Shrimp studied for the Defense Department

May 10, 2006 at 9:26 PM
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BANGOR, Maine, May 10 (UPI) -- Marine scientists say they have created an unlikely pairing between the U.S. Department of Defense and a tiny, ocean creature known as the opossum shrimp.

The Defense Department has given researcher Peter Jumars of the University of Maine a grant of more than $103,000 to continue his work in the utilization of sonar technology.

He is seeking to establish reliable techniques for monitoring the movements of opossum shrimp as they conduct their daily round-trip migrations from the shelter of the ocean floor to the waters above.

So far, Jumars says he's found some exciting data about the biology and ecological importance of the fast-moving shrimp, as well as important facts about the shrimp that involve national defense.

He explained the movements of large numbers of opossum shrimp and other small organisms can interfere with the military's use of sonar for detecting and identifying underwater mines.

"This is definitely not a small problem when it comes to using acoustics for local area search," he added. "I just didn't expect this research to be connected to so many things."

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