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Chemistry: Discovering the Elements
Just 92 elements made up the world, but the belief that were only four - earth, fire, air and water - persisted until the 19th Century. Professor Al-Khalili retraces the footsteps of the alchemists who first began to question the notion of the elements in their search for the secret of everlasting life.He reveals the red herrings and rivalries which dogged scientific progress, and explores how new approaches to splitting matter brought us both remarkable elements and the new science of chemistry.
Few sounds are more beautiful or moving than the underwater songs of the humpback whale. Male whales compete with their songs, which often last for 10 minutes at a time, and can be repeated for hours on end. Whales separated by thousands of miles of sea will sing almost identical songs. Researchers have found that the songs change throughout the breeding months, following a mysterious pattern repeated across the waves. Whales also use sound to hunt. To catch herring, humpback whales release a stream of bubbles to form a shimmering, circular fishing net. Emitting a repetitive loud scream, they scare the fish into a tight ball, then lunge out of the water to swallow the shoal whole. Now it seems that the long-held image of the gentle giant must change to one of a ferocious and opportunistic hunter.
The Great Feast
Every summer in the seas off Alaska humpback whales, sea lions and killer whales depend on an explosion of plant life, the plankton bloom. It transforms these seas into the richest on Earth. But will these animals survive to enjoy the great feast? The summer sun sparks the growth of phytoplankton, microscopic floating plants which can bloom in such vast numbers that they eclipse even the Amazon rainforest in sheer abundance of plant life. Remarkably, it is these minute plants that are the basis of all life here. But both whales and sea lions have obstacles to overcome before they can enjoy the feast. Humpback whales migrate 3,000 miles from Hawaii, and during their 3 month voyage lose a third of their body weight. In a heart-rending scene a mother sea lion loses her pup in a violent summer storm, while another dramatic sequence shows a group of killer whales working together to kill a huge male sea lion.
In late summer the plankton bloom is at its height. Vast shoals of herring gather to feed on it, diving birds round the fish up into a bait ball and then a humpback whale roars in to scoop up the entire ball of herring in one huge mouthful. When a dozen whales work together they employ the ultimate method of co-operative fishing - bubble net feeding. One whale blows a ring of bubbles to engulf the fish and then they charge in as one. Filmed from the surface, underwater and, for the first time, from the air, we reveal how these giant hunters can catch a tonne of fish every day.
Nature Great Events
2019 Nature HD
Immense shoals of fish throng our shallow seas. Small fish, in turn, sustain bigger ones. The rich coastal seas are the fishing grounds of our planet and can provide an abundance of food for wildlife and humanity. The seas fringing land make up less than a tenth of the world's oceans but 90 percent of marine creatures live in coastal waters, from fearsome sharks to lowly urchins. Protecting these habitats is a battle humanity must win.
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