Celebrate Life Below Water. Eat Blue

Deep-sea doctor appointments could help pinpoint problems in endangered whale species

A team of biologists from NOAA are following 73 Southern Resident killer whales off the coast of Washington state to observe the animals’ health data in real time.

This approach combines objective and subjective data about individual whales, including monitoring infections with thermal cameras and flying drones equipped with petri dishes into the misty exhalation, or “blow,” of a cetacean to check for respiratory problems.

These biologists are creating medical records and using the data to inform scientists about the health of “the entire population, the threats it faces and whether conservation efforts are working…The goal is to say what can we do differently, or what can we do better to help save this population.”

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