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Researcher explores whale response to noise pollution using drones

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You might be wondering, how do they measure the health of whales? Using an aerial drones, Torres and her team can get overhead shots of the whales and then use that to estimate their weight and size, even what they may be eating currently. It’s really an amazing application of a pretty common consumer technology.

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Oregon State University researcher Leigh Torres demonstrates how drone footage allows her to measure the length and girth of gray whales off the Oregon coast. Photo: Michael Bendixen/OPB

As for how the team measures a whale’s level of stress, the answer is quite less technologically impressive. Basically, they team collects the whale’s poop and analyzes it. Not the most romantic method, but it gets the job done. This substance is a wealth of information for the scientists and can reveal everything from hormone levels to disease.

 

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