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Images: The Squid, the Whale, and the Grad Student

WHOI/MIT Joint Program graduate student Wu-Jung Lee adjusts the experimental apparatus that allows her to record sonar echoes from a squid at different orientations. In 2009 Lee won recognition for her acoustical research on squid at two international conferences, the Acoustical Society of America and the Animal Sonar Symposium in Kyoto, Japan. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Wu-Jung Lee holds a squid (Loligo pealii) that has been anesthetized in a solution of magnesium chloride. She will place the squid in a frame that rotates through a full circle one degree at a time, allowing her to direct sonar pings at the squid from 360 different angles. Underwater microphones will then detect the echoes that bounce off the squid from each angle. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Student Wu-Jung Lee analyzed sonar echoes reflected from squid. She is trying to determine how dolphins and toothed whales use sonar to distinguish squid, which they eat, from other animals that they do not eat. In her experiments, she directed sonar pings at a squid suspended from a rotating frame. An underwater microphone received the echoes that bounced off the squid and recorded them into a computer for later analysis. Since dolphins and whales don't always encounter squid from the same direction, Lee wrote a program that enabled the computer to turn the squid through a full circle, one degree at a time. That allowed her to compare echoes from squid that were at different orientations with respect to the sonar source. (Illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

WHOI/Joint Program student Wu-Jung Lee found that the sonar echo from a squid depends on where the sound waves hit the squid. Echoes of sonar pings that hit a squid broadside (left) are very consistent and differ a lot from echoes of sonar pings that hit at other angles, such as head-on (right).
These photos show the squid Sepioteuthis sepioidea, which may or may not be eaten by dolphins or toothed whales. (Photos by Roger Hanlon, Marine Biological Laboratory)

Through her analysis of sonar echoes from squid, WHOI/MIT Joint Program student Wu-Jung Lee found that the shape made by the squid's tentacles greatly influences how sound waves reflect off the squid. A squid with its tentacles folded (left) produces a very different echo than a squid with its tentacles open or splayed (right).
These photos show the squids Sepioteuthis sepioidea and Histioteuthis sp., which may or may not be eaten by dolphins or toothed whales. (Photos by (left) Roger Hanlon, Marine Biological Laboratory and (right) Larry Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)