About us

Whale Wise is a registered UK charity, dedicated to the protection of marine mammals. We aim to promote a harmonious relationship between humans and whales through scientific research and public engagement.

Whale Wise started from a student project in 2018 and has now expanded to research projects around Iceland and beyond. We conduct fieldwork and data analysis to better understand how we interact with whale populations and how to make these more positive in the future. Our education work consists of X and Y. We hope to expand into the UK in the future.

How we run
Whale Wise is registered UK charity, but we do not limit our research and engagement projects to the UK itself. Currently, our work is focused in Iceland and spreading to the UK and Svalbard.

The charity is run day-to-day by an incredible team of volunteers (link) from different parts of the world. The team typically works together in-person for field seasons (this so far has been in Iceland), but then remotely in numerous countries – communicating with one-another virtually. The entire team focuses on both research and engagement, however, some members fall more heavily into one category than the other. So far, Whale Wise has also supervised numerous student projects, and we intend to continue this into the future.

Whale Wise is lucky enough to be overseen by an diverse board of trustees (link) – all with different backgrounds necessary for running a whale conservation charity. With experience in cetacean research, policy, education and finance – our board is critical to the future of Whale Wise.

Without our partners (link) Whale Wise would also simply not exist. As a small and relatively newly formed charity, Whale Wise relies heavily on the experience and resources of other institutions and organisations. Luckily, we work with generous and knowledgable partners that make our research and engagement possible.

Funding thus far has primarily been supplied by academic grants. However, these grants have largely only covered equipment and rarely personal living costs (housing, food, etc.). As a charitable organization, our future work heavily relies on donations from people and organisations who believe in and support our cause (link to donate page). If you are interested in donating for a specific project or purpose, please contact us (link to contact page).

A brief history of Whale Wise
Whale Wise began in 2018 as Tom’s PhD project focused on the potential impacts of whale-watching in Iceland. The project was named, ‘Whale-Watching Wisely’. Joined by Alyssa for the field season, who he had met during a previous whale research internship, the two worked together with other ‘whale friends’ to complete the first field season of the project. (I have both our names individually to give some kind of clear explanation of why we are co-founders)

During the field season it became apparent that we did not want this team to stop working together simply once Tom’s PhD had finished, and especially because we had many more project ideas for the future. We had a wild idea that this ‘project’ could actually become a charity focused more broadly on studying the interaction between whales and in humans in general. This meant we needed a less specific name, therefore, Whale Wise was born.

The beginnings of Whale Wise started with a group of people coming together and forming close friendships simply because of their overwhelming and united love for whales. Luckily, Whale Wise is still exactly that.

Our largest research project so far is still the assessment of whale-watching impacts in Iceland, but since 2018 we have grown in size, expanded our research and engagement projects (link to research + engagement) and became an official charity in April of 2021.

“I was once told that turning Whale Wise into a charity would take years, implying it wasn’t worth the effort. Well, it did take years, and it was worth the wait.”

Alyssa, Whale Wise Co-Founder

Registered charity
Team + board (with links)
Currently, funding primarily from academic grants
Entirely run by volunteers
Typically we have a field season each summer, with most of our fieldwork taking place in Iceland
Volunteers can work on research, education or both!
We have take on students for projects

  • Started in 2018
  • Originally: primarily focused on whale-watching in Iceland
  • As time went on, we expanded our research focus and started to do more engagement
  • Annual field seasons in Iceland
  • Official charity in April 2021!