Hexacopter-captured Whale Blow Supports a Framework for Health Monitoring

Blow sampling off Cape Cod
John Durban pilots a hexacopter over a humpback whale to collect a blow sample off Cape Cod. Photograph by Michael Moore (WHOI); research approachs under NMFS permit 17355.

Working alongside colleagues from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), SR3 and the Vancouver Aquarium, MMTD researcher John Durban used a small, unmanned hexacopter to collect exhaled breath condensate (blow) from two geographically distinct populations of humpback whales to characterize their respiratory microbial community, an important tool for health assessment.