I knew something was up when I switched on this morning & found FORTY pages to catch up on!Ok so now is time to say my theory I've been stewing over but haven't said yet:
The UA's, when dropped from an SRV, tell us the name of the planet they are on yes?
Well we haven't really experimented with this behavior yet. I'd say it's a good idea to go looking with a UA, every time you land on a planet you should drop it from your SRV, listen to it, and see if it only says the name of the planet. I wouldn't mind betting if you land on a planet with Barnacles on it will let you know some how.
This is all guesswork but I'd say it's better to try it and not get results than not try it and never find em
Yes, Earth Barnacles communicate (by chemicals), so that if one attaches to a surface more are likely to do so (for cross-pollination) - so I suspect you are correct. We have seen a video example (page 576, #8628 by Cmdr Zaratan) of two UAs apparently singing to each other, & I was surprised that video didn't get more attention. Perhaps we can learn something from that song to help in understanding of the SRV wavescanner pattern or (as you say) use the UA themselves as a search scanner. However I suspect the behaviour may be more subtle than a change in the morse; I think that is the UAs signalling other UAs where they have landed (their "chemical" signal). Think this is a job for Riz & the Morse/Audio experts