How do whales use their blowholes to breathe, and what keeps them from filling up with water? There’s no better way to find out than getting up close and personal with whales! That’s what marine mammal biologist Justine Hudson did when she collected whale snot from belugas. Snot or “blow” is the watery cloud that sprays up when whales exhale. Justine shares her incredible snotty adventure in the Arctic, and tells us how blowholes work.
Justine Hudson is an Arctic marine mammal biologist. That means she studies mammals who live in cold waters. Here she is in warmer climes!
Read an interview with Justine about her research interests, and how she got interested in Arctic Mammals.
Justine talks about her job as a whale snot collector with Hakai Magazine.
WATCH JUSTINE'S TEAM COLLECT BELUGA SNOT!
Justine filmed this on her boat in Churchill, Manitoba. You can hear her at the end, asking how many whales are following them!
Here, you can see the "snot collection" device at the end of the pole, and how they try to position it above the whale blowhole. It's almost like fishing for snot! (But non-invasive, of course.)
LEARN MORE ABOUT WHALE SNOT
Man, there are A LOT of videos about whale snot, especially the Snot Bot that inspired Justine. Here's a few of our favorites.
A TV report from the CBC in Canada, where Justine lives:
A quick video from National Geographic:
A TEDx talk with another whale snot researcher:
And finally, beautiful footage of a whale "sneeze"! Look carefully and you can see how the blowhole opens and closes:
MORE BELUGA BEAUTY!
Want to contribute to Justine's ongoing beluga whale research? You don't have to hold a snot pole. Just sign onto Beluga Bits to help identify wild beluga whales! It's a citizen science project run by our friends at Zooniverse.
AND FINALLY, BABY BELUGA
We couldn't miss an opportunity to post this song. Can you believe Marshall had never heard it before?! It's never too late to learn about Raffi!