Oceanography during WW2

During WW2, submarines became an essential vehicle of warfare. Many of the greatest ocean battles raged not above the sea line but also way below. Submarine crew often relied and depended on the newest innovations and technology in oceanography to survive.

During the early years of the war, an issue arose for all submariners. The detection equipment that was used to seek out enemy vehicles had a serious design flaw. There was a crackling sound that severely impeded the effectiveness of their radar systems.

This interference was devastating and could potentially cost a submarine the lives of its entire crew. Something needed to be done to fix this issue. Leading oceanographers at the Scripps Institute managed to pinpoint the source of the sound. It turned out it was made by a crustacean that was known to marine biologists as the snapping shrimp. Now that oceanographers knew the source of the sound they could work on preventing the issue from happening during future battles.

The US Navy hired leading marine scientists and engineers for this solution. By the end of the research and development phases the scientists not only developed a system to identify the difference between snapping shrimp and enemy submarines. They also created a way to utilize the sound so that Allied submarines could pass through enemy waters undetected.

This moment in history was one of the biggest discoveries in oceanography. It showed that marine biology could be utilized to prevent lives being lost during wartime. Throughout history there have been numerous innovations and discoveries made by oceanographers. This one stands out because it affected the lives of so many humans who lived their daily peace time lives not down in the ocean depths but above, away from the ocean. It showed that engineering could be improved by marine biology.