Study of whale poop provides vital data to OSU researchers

Whale poop is providing Oregon State University researchers with a treasure trove of information.

For the last two summers, researchers have been scooping the poop of these animals that can be more than 40 feet long and weigh more than 30 tons.

Marine ecologist Leigh Torres has been heading up the pilot project.

In a small, inflatable boat, Torres and her team follow the whales off the coast, waiting for the big moment.

"When it happens somebody yells out 'POOP!' and we all spring into action," said Torres. "Somebody gets on the net and drags it through the water and it's a really exciting moment on the boat where we're all sort of trying to coordinate our actions in order to get the best sample possible." Read more...