Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Breath Samples From Whales

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | How do you breathalyse a whale?

Gotta say, this is kinda cool. How do you get a breath sample from a whale? Well, you use a helicopter. The Beeb's new series Oceans has the gang on board a ship in the Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California) taking what seem to be non-invasive breath samples from sperm whales. Overall, they manage to get samples from about 60 whales--and additional samples from another 40 whales of various species off Gibraltar. The most telling moment in the excerpt, for me, is when the presenter says that some of the microbes captured in the spray may have been transmitted to the whales from humans--likely whale-watching humans.

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