Menu Home

Whale snot drone pilots

Everyone dreams of being a scientist, but few understand just what that profession entails. Well, among other things, you could be a whale snot drone pilot.

Whale

Sylke Rohrlach from Sydney [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Scientists want to monitor the health of whales. To do this, they want to examine their mucus and their DNA. But how on Earth do you capture whale snot? And, more importantly (I’m looking at you, Japanese whale “researchers”), how do you capture whale snot without killing the whale?

Marine biologists have come up with a very clever approach. Whales surface to exhale, sending a spray of air, water, snot, and bacteria high in the air from their blowholes. Researchers used to use long poles to try and capture this “blow” (the technical name for the stuff that comes out of a blowhole). But this is obviously a difficult process.

Instead, some bright spark proposed that a drone could be piloted through the spray, capturing all the mucus and data at one fell swoop. Brilliant. You can see a video of this process in action below.

Categories: Plants & animals Sciences

The Generalist

I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and am curious about most things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: