Scientists have come up with a novel way of collecting data in order to understand more about whales. The SnotBot is a small drone that can hover over a whale and then collect samples of snot, or whale blow as it is more accurately named. The drones are equipped with petri dishes and can retrieve the particles exhaled through the whale’s blowhole as the creature comes up for air.
When studied in detail, whale blow can reveal information about the whale’s DNA, metabolism, health, hormones and stress. The SnotBot is also equipped with cameras and microphones to collect a range of other valuable data.
This kind of non-invasive research is in stark contrast to the whale research undertaken by Japan, whose vessels have just left port once again to kill whales so that they can be dissected and supposedly studied for scientific reasons.