The BBC has reported that Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse’s technique for collecting samples from whale blowholes has earned her an Ig Nobel award. Dr Acevedo-Whitehouse, of the Zoological Society of London, uses a remote-control helicopter with a petri dish hanging below it to catch samples as the whales evacuate their blowholes. The exhaled gases and mucus blast the dishes which are then taken back to the lab to study the disease-causing micro-organisms carried by the animals. Dr Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse says:
“We certainly have had fun doing our whale-snot research”.
The tongue-in-cheek Ig Nobel awards are given annually for “improbable research”.