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humpback darting

A Plug for Science

A biopsy dart fired from a crossbow hits home on the flank of a surfacing humpback whale in the Palmer Deep off the Antarctic Peninsula in January. Duke Marine Lab scientists based on the research ship Lawrence M. Gould were harmlessly obtaining these small samples of skin and blubber during a National Science Foundation expedition to identify the sex and relatedness of whales and to assess their diet and reproductive status. This photo by Dave Johnston, and all the samples, were collected under permits from NOAA and NSF. To learn more about the Palmer Station Antarctica expedition, read the blog.