Please select your home edition
Edition
Giacomo Yacht Sale

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.'

RS Sailing 660x82 AUSBIA 2017 Brisbane 660x82 SailingDoyle Sails NZ - Never Look Back

Related Articles

Twenty-eighth blog from Jon Sanders - He's made it to Noumea
Noumea' New Caledonia a long Island kinda lies south-east to north west. 30 N Miles wide and 220 miles long 'Noumea' New Caledonia a long Island - kinda lies south-east to north west. 30 N Miles wide and 220 miles long, sort of. Plenty of reef. The fringing reef well out with several well posted passages into the Lagoon. Once inside the lagoon one cannot steer a course direct to Noumea, or one would come to a grinding halt. 'Crunch' (Coral reef and Islets). Never the less a small boat paradise....
Posted on 17 Aug
New rules to better protect and enable access to the Whitsundays
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt said it was vital to protect the area’s values The updates to the Whitsunday Plan of Management — an area-specific plan that manages use in this highly visited region in addition to Reef-wide zoning — follows extensive consultation.
Posted on 10 Aug
Keep the water out with Zhik’s new Superthermal Hydrobase
The lower arm and leg of the new Superthermal Hydrobase is made from a water-repellent, stretch woven fabric We’ve all done it - and fished a rope out of the water, pushed the rudder down or stepped down the slipway one foot too far and gained that unwanted wet sleeve or leg.
Posted on 9 Aug
Satori is for sale
This 50ft McConaghy built performance cruiser is effectively a mini Wally. This 50ft McConaghy built performance cruiser is effectively a mini Wally. In-boom furling, self-tacking and hydraulic driven everything through push button controls that really work. You just need to trim your nails before sailing! It really is a boat that you can sail on your own, but nice to have company to show it off!
Posted on 9 Aug
Brisbane Boat Show – 18 days to go
The Brisbane Boat Show opens in less than three weeks, capturing all the Queensland boating lifestyle has to offer. There will be a huge clearance of fishing tackle and show only deals. If you love boats, fishing and water sports you don’t want to miss the Brisbane Boat Show.
Posted on 7 Aug
Knots are great, but beware of limitations
Paul Dyer, technical manager at Marlow Ropes, tests the effects of knots and splices on rope strength. Paul Dyer, technical manager at Marlow Ropes, tests the effects of knots and splices on rope strength. There's a knot for every application and for many applications there is no better solution than a knot. Nonetheless it is important to be aware of the limitations of knots.
Posted on 3 Aug
Twenty-seventh blog from Jon Sanders - More South Pacific trade winds
In my last blog I mentioned running before the trade winds. All the way from South America to Australia. In my last blog I mentioned running before the trade winds. All the way from South America to Australia. i.e. Sailing between the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn. I cleared Tahiti and headed for New Caledonia. (A sizeable French elongated Island) all in the trade wind belt. And after Noumea 'New Caledonia' to Bundaberg, where rum is made in Australia.
Posted on 31 Jul
Rolex Fastnet Race - New high resolution tidal model
This new model covers the race area in unprecidented detail, with a resolution of 500m and time steps every 30 minutes. We have been working hard on a new high resolution model for North West Europe and we are excited to be able to offer you the opportunity to be the first to test it in anger for the Rolex Fastnet Race.
Posted on 30 Jul
Twenty-sixth blog from Jon Sanders - The South Pacific trade winds
First one has to get into them from Panama. Then you have them. First one has to get into them from Panama. Then you have them. Some years your sails might flop along in a light wind. But it is there.
Posted on 27 Jul
She's back! Lisa Blair returns home
Lisa Blair has finished her epic circumnavigation of Antartica. Lisa Blair has finished her epic circumnavigation of Antartica. It has been a massive undertaking in every sense, but the steely determination she is known for has shone through repeatedly, which is what has allowed her to chalk up this one. Despite being in front of record pace before her dismasting on Climate Action Now, the Hick 50 she used for the journey...
Posted on 26 Jul