Ring Bubbles of Dolphins; August 1996; Scientific American Magazine; by Marten, Shariff, Psarakos, White; 6 Page(s)
Below the towering cliffs of Makapuu Beach on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, is a unique laboratory dedicated to the study of dolphins. Project Delphis, run by the nonprofit conservation organization Earthtrust, in cooperation with Sea Life Park Hawaii, conducts research ranging from investigating dolphin self-awareness to exploring the animals¿ intelligence using an underwater computer touch screen. The scientists in the lab do not use food as a reward, so all the behavior observed is of the dolphins¿ own volition.
One of the most fascinating activities we have seen in our research involves no high-tech human toys at all. Instead the dolphins fashion their own entertainment by swirling the water with their fins and blowing bubbles into the resulting vortices to produce rings and helices of air. Furthermore, the physics behind the air rings turns out to be quite interesting. Few people doubt that dolphins are highly intelligent animals, but these observations demonstrate just how imaginative they can be.