Researchers from Davis University were in Klamath this week to capture VOC samples in a bag, volatile organic compounds – which translates to whale breath – to take back to their Davis lab to analyze. Once it is captured from the whale, via hanging out over the boat with the bag extended from a long flexible pole somewhere in the vicinity of her two blow holes, they bring it back to shore, race it up to an area where they can put it into a trap to convert into a stable form to transport. It is a form of profiling the health of the whale and used as a diagnostic tool. To date, no one has analyzed whale breath before.
According to William Cheung, PhD., “It is a non-invasive, non-stress health profiling diagnostic tool. We can get a baseline and see if it is stable. If it is shifting, it could be a cause for concern.”
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