Scientists want to study whale diseases, but collecting blood is difficult and dangerous to the scientists and the whales. But whale snot is also good for analyzing whale health, and whales shoot it out of their blowholes freely and frequently. The trick is in collecting it.
Dr. Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse of the Zoological Society of London things remote control helicopters are the answer.
Her recent paper in Animal Conservation (abstract), irresistibly entitled "A novel non-invasive tool for disease surveillance of free-ranging whales and its relevance to conservation programs," introduces the ground-breaking methodology of strapping a petri dish to a toy RC helicopter and flying it into the spout.