Sniffing Out A Killer


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The caregiver support website CancerCare updated and relaunched its "My Cancer Circle" website , adding multiple new features. Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer lived significantly longer without disease progression if they received high-dose vitamin D supplements along with chemotherapy. MedPage Today has complete details.

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The building blocks for future generations of drugs , including cancer therapies, may lie deep within the oceans. Frontiers in Microbiology. J-pod whales have higher concentrations of chemicals found in nearshore waters while L pod has higher concentrations of chemicals that are more prevalent offshore and further south, which aligns with sightings data of the two pods.

From the DNA found in the whale scat, researchers have been able to determine the sex of the whale that made the deposit and even do paternity tests. This information led to the discovery that Ruffles J-1 who is now deceased, and Mega L have fathered the majority of all whales sampled within the Southern Resident community who were born since These samples have also shown that there is no genetic evidence of a male under the age of 25 siring any offspring even though the males are sexually active much earlier.

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This leads to important hypotheses about the social dynamics within the population. Photos: a Ruffles J-1 and b Mega L , the two males who have sired the majority of all Southern Residents born since Whale scat is so full of information, scientists can detect pregnancy hormones and even determine what stage of pregnancy a given female is in.

They can also measure different types of stress hormones, illness indicators and they can detect bacteria, viruses, or parasites. The best part about collecting whale scat for research is that it is non-invasive.


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No darts are shot to collect skin samples, which was a method used in the past to collect the same data. All of this information can be used to make informed decisions about the most effective and appropriate conservation measures to protect this endangered population.

So the next time you come out whale watching with us, be on the lookout for a furry research assistant named Jack. He is bound to catch your attention, but his attention will be focused on sniffing out the not so subtle smells of that ever important whale poop! Phone The Whale Scat Sniffing Canines of the Salish Sea April 1, Did you know that the waters of the Pacific Northwest are considered to have the highest concentration of killer whales in the world?

Photo Credit: Rachael Merrett- Orca Spirit Marine Naturalist One fascinating way in which research is conducted on the orcas is by whale poop sniffing dogs.

View All Tours. Photos: An excited Tucker in his yellow life jacket after detecting whale scat.

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Notice the researcher off the stern of the vessel using a scoop on a pole to collect a sample. Our favourite four-legged friends on the water are Conservation Canines or C-K9s.

We now see a new whale poop-sniffing dog scouring the surface of the water for the telltale smell that a whale has done its business. Jack, an Australian Cattle Dog , has taken over the reins from Tucker, helping to collect approximately scat samples a year from the Southern Resident Killer Whales.

Photo: New Whale scat-sniffing pooch- Jack, working hard to detect any whale 2! So what do the scat samples tell us exactly?

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From the samples, scientists can determine what species of food the whales are eating and in what proportion. Toxic contamination loads can also be determined, teaching us what chemicals are in the environment and what concentration levels are being found in the whales. J-pod whales have higher concentrations of chemicals found in nearshore waters while L pod has higher concentrations of chemicals that are more prevalent offshore and further south, which aligns with sightings data of the two pods.

From the DNA found in the whale scat, researchers have been able to determine the sex of the whale that made the deposit and even do paternity tests.

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This information led to the discovery that Ruffles J-1 who is now deceased, and Mega L have fathered the majority of all whales sampled within the Southern Resident community who were born since These samples have also shown that there is no genetic evidence of a male under the age of 25 siring any offspring even though the males are sexually active much earlier.

This leads to important hypotheses about the social dynamics within the population. Photos: a Ruffles J-1 and b Mega L , the two males who have sired the majority of all Southern Residents born since Whale scat is so full of information, scientists can detect pregnancy hormones and even determine what stage of pregnancy a given female is in.

They can also measure different types of stress hormones, illness indicators and they can detect bacteria, viruses, or parasites.

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