Pearson Sponsors ‘SnotBot’ Drone Project for Non-Disruptive Whale Research


Pearson is partnering with the Ocean Alliance and the Olin College of Engineering to help sponsor the SnotBot project, which aims to aid in the study of whales without interfering with the animals or disrupting their normal activities.

The SnotBot drone flies far above the water’s surface and collects samples of blow from whales without causing any stress or injury to the animals. Scientists then analyze the samples to gather data on the whales’ health and well-being.

The project, conceived by the Ocean Alliance and Olin College of Engineering, has also claimed actor Patrick Stewart as its spokesperson in a Kickstarter funding campaign (which has now been fully funded).

Dr. Joseph Levine, co-author of Pearson’s Miller & Levine Biology, a high school biology program launched in 1998, says, “Once in a while, dedicated people catalyze positive change in unexpected ways. And every now and then, out-of-the-box thinking creates a new use for existing technology with the potential to transform our understanding of the living world.

“The folks at the Ocean Alliance and their collaborators at Olin College are dedicated people, and their SnotBot project has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of whales and, by extension, the marine environments in which they play a crucial role.”

In response to the partnership, Dr. Roger Payne, founder and president of the Ocean Alliance, says, “We can only protect what we understand and understand what we are taught. As a world leader in providing educational tools, we are excited that Pearson Education is helping us to develop and deploy new tools for wildlife research and conservation. Pearson continues to lead the way; for that, we and thousands of students worldwide are very grateful.”

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