PortandTerminal.com, November 9, 2020
A new study says COVID-19 could be spread to whales and other marine mammals through improperly treated sewage and wastewater. The SnotBot is how samples can be taken to find out.
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – A SnotBot® is a modified consumer drone which flies through the blow of a whale and collects exhaled “snot” on petri dishes.
Why in heaven’s name would anyone want to collect whale snot? Because it contains a treasure trove of valuable biological information: DNA, stress and pregnancy hormones, microbiomes and potentially many other biological compounds/indicators of the animal’s health and ecology. For marine animal researchers the information collected by the Snotbot is invaluable.
We first heard about the SnotBot as part of a recent discussion concerning COVID-19 and the possibility that it may infect marine mammals. A new study says COVID-19 could be spread to whales and other marine mammals through improperly treated sewage and wastewater.
Researchers are already taking samples of sewage as an early warning measure of COVID-19 in urban populations of humans. All that sewage water eventually ends up somewhere – in our oceans – and it’s there where mammals such as whales, dolphins and seals are at risk of catching it.
SnotBots are a smart, non-invasive solution to take samples from nature’s largest mammals without putting any additional stress on them.
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