Project aims

Mission statement

Whale Wise aims to promote a harmonious relationship between humans and whales through scientific research and public engagement.

Aims and objectives

Aim 1: study the interaction between whales and human activity

Objective 1: deduce the short-term behavioural and physiological response of cetaceans to human-derived changes in the marine environment.

Objective 2: assess the impact of such response on the immediate welfare of individual animals.

Objective 3: model the impact of short-term responses on the long-term health and status of populations.

Objective 4: share the results of primary research with the scientific community through published, peer-reviewed articles and conference presentations.

Aim 2: engage with the public and other relevant stakeholders through research and education

Objective 1: share the results of scientific research with the public in a transparent, equitable and fair way.

Objective 2: organise open events to educate the public about marine research and conservation, locally and generally. Such events should also allow the public to express their opinions.

Objective 3: run citizen science projects to facilitate a mutually beneficial relationship between the general public, businesses and scientists.

Objective 4: campaign for the inclusion of conservation initiatives into local, regional and national legislation.

Project-specific goals

Whale watching, north Iceland

Aim 1: assess the interaction between whales and whale-watching vessels in north Iceland

Goal 1: assess the short-term behavioural and physiological response of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) and blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) to vessel-based whale watching encounters.

Data collection: 600 hours of behavioural observation; 130 samples of exhaled breath (blow); body condition measurements for 50 individual whales.

Goal 2: model the effect of short-term responses on the long-term welfare, health and population trends of humpback and blue whales.

Goal 3: predict future regional shifts in humpback and blue whale distribution in response to climate-induced oceanographic changes.

Aim 2: engage local communities and businesses with this research.

Goal 1: regularly discuss research progress and results with local whale-watching businesses.

Goal 2: organise events involving local communities to promote education about marine fauna and conservation in the region.