Image from here.
“’For the first time, we don’t have to wait around for these whales to poop,’ said Dr. Scott Kraus, vice president and senior science advisor at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium.” [Emphasis added]
That right there is the #1 reason you, the reader, should be excited about this article. I know that you’re like me – and the both of us are like Dr. Scott Kraus – in that we waste a wildly disproportionate amount of our lives waiting for things to poop. Welcome to the revolution.
But, really, this is super cool. Collecting and analyzing samples of blow from whales when they surface is nothing new (we even use drones to do it because of course we do, it’s 2019). The kicker here is that the scientists are correcting for how diluted these samples get by measuring the amount of urea – which is pretty constant unless the sample is diluted by seawater. Suddenly, it’s possible to make meaningful measurements and comparisons of things the scientists are actually interested in – like hormone levels tied directly to stress and reproduction, among other things. Such information helps us understand how these animals are impacted by increasing human impacts to their habitats, such as offshore energy production or sea floor mining.
It goes without saying they’re comparing the new findings to their poop database. Certified R.A.D. by the Marine Mammal Scatologists for a Brighter Future Foundation.