Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Floaters

Whale research - new techniques expand for non-lethal methods

by FishingBoating-World on 29 Jun 2014
A humpback whale breaches off American Samoa, a study site in the South Pacific. One of the sources of samples in this study was skin shed by breaching whales - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) © http://www.whoi.edu/
We all love to see a whale off the bow, but the the Japanese Government maintains that you have to kill a whale to do scientific research. Scientific institutions world wide disagree. A routine method has been collecting samples which were obtained from biopsy-collecting-darts that bounce off the whales' skin. Non-lethal research tools continue to expand with scientists from Stanford's Center for Ocean Solutions proposing a new technique.

The International Court of Justice - in March 2014 ordered a temporary halt to Japan's Antarctic whaling program, ruling that it is not for scientific purposes as the Japanese government had claimed.

The Japanese had maintained that lethal methods, that is explosive harpoon grenades were needed to gather data on age and stomach contents and are planning to resume 'scientific whaling' next southern hemisphere summer.



However, there are now a range of non-lethal alternatives for data collection.

The criticism of Japan's research program which the court obviously agreed with was that the lethal research had not answered any meaningful questions in relation to the IWC's objectives, and that was a 'lack of testable hypotheses or performance measures'.

The 2013 Scientific Committee report stated 'that the special permit programs conducted by the Government of Japan...have not provided results relevant to the IWC and are unnecessary for the conservation and management of whales.'



Sollecting samples obtained from biopsy collecting darts that bounce off the whales' skin but important information can also be obtained from skin that naturally sloughs off when whales breach. Detailed population studies in these areas provided important details about the individuals involved, such as their age class and sex.

Now the range of non-lethal research tools continues to expand with scientists with Stanford's Center for Ocean Solutions propose to use genetic techniques as a low-cost, quick way to collect near real-time knowledge of marine environmental conditions.



In a paper published in Science today, scientists from Stanford's Center for Ocean Solutions, the University of Washington and the University of Copenhagen propose employing emerging environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling techniques that could make assessing the biodiversity of marine ecosystems – from single-cell critters to great white sharks and whales– as easy as taking a water sample.

Genetic monitoring via a form of DNA, known as eDNA, that is shed into the environment by animals could overcome some of these issues.

eDNA is like a fingerprint left at a crime scene. This material may come from metabolic waste, damaged tissue or sloughed off skin cells. Once it is collected, scientists can sequence the DNA to create a fast, high-resolution, non-invasive survey of whole biological communities.

'The eDNA work is potentially a game-changer for environmental monitoring,' said Larry Crowder, a professor of biology at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station, senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, science director at the Center for Ocean Solutions and a co-author of the study. 'A number of laws require monitoring, but actually keeping tabs on large, mobile, cryptic animals is challenging and expensive.'

The cost of DNA sequencing is decreasing rapidly, a trend that has fueled eDNA studies in recent years.
'We wanted to know how to put these amazing new genetic tools to use,' said lead author Ryan Kelly, an assistant professor at the University of Washington and a visiting fellow at the Center for Ocean Solutions. 'Harnessing eDNA is a perfect example of how cutting-edge science can plug into many of the environmental laws we have on the books.'

Henri Lloyd 50 YearsT Clewring - GenericPacific Sailing School 660x82 1

Related Articles

Knowing Harken takes years and years (Pt.II)
We looked at how Grant Pellew became the MD here in Australia, and how they rigorously go about testing their gear In Part One of getting to know Harken, we looked at how Grant Pellew became the MD here in Australia, and how they rigorously go about testing their gear. We also looked at some of the other brands Harken distributes in Australia and so we move on to the last category.
Posted on 25 Sep
Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
Terry Kohler, driving force of North Technology dies at 82
Terry Kohler who purchased North Sails was the driving force behind the North Technology Group, has died aged 82 Terry Kohler who purchased North Sails from Lowell North over 30 years ago and was the driving force behind the North Technology Group, has died aged 82. With the combined company of North sails and Southern Spars, Kohler created the 'Engine above the Deck' concept which married the technology used to build the sails and spars to be designed and work as an integral unit.
Posted on 21 Sep
Amel - Do you fit the bill?
Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 It is certainly an interesting set of criterion. Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 and make them a definitive part of the quintessential bluewater cruiser armada. We’ll come to all of those in due course, but firstly we’ll tackle the hero image and why in so many ways, this explains, so, so much.
Posted on 21 Sep
Knowing Harken takes years and years (Pt.I)
You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. So if you were going to be the person at the top in Australia, it would be best for you to have immersed yourself in sailing from an early age. When you grew up, being one of the technical service team would be more than a handy apprenticeship, as it were.
Posted on 19 Sep
'Grate Art' in Hong Kong
Hong Kong charity pioneers environmental awareness through innovative storm grate installations In an effort to help Hong Kongers play their part in protecting the world’s ocean, Ocean Recovery Alliance is raising awareness through a unique public art installation called ‘Grate Art’. Hong Kong’s drainage system is one of the main sources for debris outflow into the ocean, and Ocean Recovery Alliance is tackling this problem upstream through an initiative that uses “art for awareness”.
Posted on 14 Sep
Brookes and Gatehouse Videos with Knut Frostad
Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos with Knut Frostad, the legendary Volvo Ocean Race sailor and former CEO. See him talk about sailing in general, the B&G product choices and placement he made for his own boat, and then why he loves his Outremer 5X.
Posted on 8 Sep
Boat Books of the Month - How to Read Water and False Flags
How to Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to Sea & False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II. This month the Boatbooks Australia: Boat Books of the Month are How to Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to the Sea and False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II.
Posted on 6 Sep
Soft Padeyes – light, strong and versatile
Several types of soft padeyes are now available and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel pa Several types of soft padeyes are now available on the market and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel padeyes. They all capitalise on the incredible strength to weight ratio and abrasion resistance of Dyneema® which offers a reliable, robust, flexible and safe termination.
Posted on 6 Sep
The X Factor starring X-Yachts
X-Yachts do indeed have plenty to sing about. X-Yachts do indeed have plenty to sing about. Testament to that is the three-year-old Xp38 on display at the recent Sydney International Boat Show still looked brand new. This was no mooring minder either, but rather a boat that had gone up to Hamilton Island Race Week for each of those years and campaigned hard.
Posted on 31 Aug