Monitoring Marine Mammals
October 24, 2017
Monitoring the endocrine status of marine mammals can give valuable information to researchers. Overall health, health issues, and an animal’s pregnancy status can all be deduced from the careful analysis of steroid hormones. However, gaining such data is not easy. The difficulty of obtaining blood samples in the wild necessitates the use of alternative matrices, such as blubber, that in turn provide a number of analytical challenges. Aiming to solve these issues a team of researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a novel method using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) to analyze blubber obtained through remote sample collection. Ashley Boggs from NIST spoke to The Column about the benefits of this newly developed technique and its potential wider application in animal research and management.