Lab work for whales

With our first field season behind us, it’s now time to start looking at our samples and data. Before our next field season, we hope to deduce the behavioural response of our 2018 whales to whale watching vessels. We also aim to successfully detect cortisol and other hormones in our blow samples. If we achieve…

A summer of strandings

For some species, summer 2018 has been a fantastic season in Skjálfandi Bay. For example, we have seen record numbers of humpback whales, with some incredible behaviour and several mother-calf pairs. However, for one rare visitor, the story of 2018 has been far more tragic. (the following blog does contain photos of dead whales) Northern…

Success in the field

As our first field season draws to a close, we can celebrate a successful season of whale research. We won’t pretend that it was all plain sailing: the last four months have been tiring and frustrating at times, as we faced challenges both expected and surprising. We soon realised the true difficulty of monitoring whales…

Learning to lunge feed

With our blow sampling project ending for the 2018 season, we turned our focus back to whale behaviour in Skjálfandi Bay. Fortunately for us, their behaviour has been spectacular. Humpback whales belong to the rorqual group of baleen whales, and so they feed by lunging for a shoal of prey (fish or krill) at high…

Blow Sampling in Iceland

When the odds are not in your favour, fight against them. This is an important lesson to remember when conducting any wildlife research, and especially so with whales. The wind may be too strong; the rain may be endless; and the whales may be scarce. However, if you can keep a positive attitude and persevere,…

Sailing west with the Irish

The majority of the research conducted for Whale Watching Wisely takes place in Skjálfandi Bay, from the town of Húsavík. An area subject to intense whale watching, we hope to document differences in behaviour and movement patterns in the presence and absence of vessels. However, this cannot tell us how the whales would behave in…

Summer bonanza

As the northern summer truly arrives in Húsavík, whales have been enjoying the feast of fish and krill provided by warmer water and 24-hour daylight. Humpback whales are now being spotted on every trip, with many minke whales and even a blue whale spotted in the last few days. We are also noticing more frequent…

Whale team assembles

Hello everyone! After nearly three weeks in Iceland, we are really settling into a research routine. Our protocols are finalised for the season and our database is rapidly expanding. This will only continue as we welcome two new researchers to the team this week, Danny Kosiba and Katy Maleta. Both Danny and Katy have recently…

Breaching Hurdles

Our first week in Húsavík has certainly been eventful, with highs and lows, setbacks and celebrations. Having had no time to practise our research methods before arriving in Iceland, learning how to use equipment has been a big challenge. However, over the last week, we’ve developed protocols that allow us to collect the data necessary…

Whalecome!

Hello everyone and welcome to Whale Watching Wisely! Like millions of people around the world, we are passionate about whales and their mysterious lives. We love nothing more than spending a day on the water, watching whales and dolphins feed, leap and maybe even interact with us. However, whales may not quite see it this…