Yuan Wang, co-founder of American Marine Research Company

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Yuan Wang—co-founder of American Marine Research Company, essentially a quartet of young engineers (recent graduates from M.I.T., Cornell, and Olin College of Engineering; Wang is a young mathematician from Princeton) who are in Pensacola developing underwater drones to target lionfish, a rampant invasive species in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere, with no natural predator—discusses how he became intrigued by the lionfish problem, and how he recruited his three colleagues to tackle it.lionfish-1-big As part of this process, Wang notes, after his initial stages of reading and research about lionfish and the challenges they present, he recognized that his effort was not suited to be a hobbyist project—hence, founding American Marine Research Company, enlisting the three co-workers, and settling in Pensacola. The conversation with Wang was notable in a few ways, including that it was one of the rare instances where a “Talking Animals” guest may have learned as much from the interview as the listeners and host did. This revelation and re-examination was sparked by Wang commenting—in response to a listener email wondering if thereIMG_2382 was a way to solve the lionfish problem without killing them—that as a Christian, he views human life as sacred, but not so animal life. This elicited at least one listener call and some email. Beyond that, he describes important traits about lionfish, including that a female can lay as many as 2.3 million eggs per year, which combined with facing no predator to speak of, accounts for the species’ unchecked population growth. Wang also provides some general information about the drones he and his colleagues have been developing, and explains how the drone identifies a lionfish and distinguishes it from a grouper, red snapper or other fish commonly found in those waters. (https://americanmarineresearch.org)

snooty-the-oldest-manatee

ALSO: I spoke briefly with Carlos Munoz, a staff writer at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, who’s been covering the controversy that’s erupted over the drowning death of Snooty, the 69-year-old, much-beloved manatee, who died July 23rd after becoming trapped in a maintenance area at the South Florida Museum’s Parker Manatee aquarium. (www.southfloridamuseum.org, www.heraldtribune.com)

COMEDY CORNER: Eddie Izzard’s “Parrots” (www.eddieizzard.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play Name That Animal Tune today.

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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