The Search for Whale Poop
Fargo, the dog pictured here, is not just having a relaxing day at sea. He is helping researchers at the New England Aquarium in Boston detect scat (or poop) from North Atlantic right whales. The dogs find about four times more whale poop with their scent detection than the researchers would using other methods. Why are they looking for poop? Researchers analyze the scat to learn more about the health and reproduction of the whales. There are also scat-sniffing dogs in the Pacific helping to locate orca feces. Whale poop is also an important fertilizer for the ocean, adding iron that feeds phytoplankton and jump-starts food webs.