Whales and humans have a complex relationship. Whale populations around the world are threatened by human activity, and yet play an important role in our local culture and heritage. We aim to study this interaction to advance the welfare and conservation of whales and dolphins around the world.
Our current focus is in Iceland where we are working on two projects:
- Studying the interactions between humpback and blue whales and whale-watching vessels. We aim to guide respectful and sustainable whale-watching in the area.
- Developing a citizen science project in order to better understand the distribution of whales around Iceland and explore the connections between local communities and the ocean
Behavioural observation of whales in the presence and absence of boats
Collecting whale blow / breath samples via drone in order to measure the levels of stress-related hormones
Taking aerial images of whales via drone to measure body condition (how fat can a whale get?)
Listening to the underwater soundscape of a whale and their communication, using hydrophones
Talking with local communities to understand their relationship with whales and design a citizen science program
By using a combination of several methods and engaging with local communities, we stand the best chance of understanding the two-way interaction between whales and humans.
In our next field season we hope to use each of these methods. Our aims:
- Collect 100 blow samples
- Measure body condition of 50 whales
- Conduct behavioural observation for 100 hours
- Deploy a hydrophone for 3 months
- Talk with as many locals as possible!
This is important, but research alone isn’t enough. Building on 2019 we will continue to organise local events, give public talks, and prioritise social media accounts and our online blog.
Whilst we are excited to continue this journey, at this time it is essential to act responsibly, safely and in line with Covid-19 regulations.
Thank you as always for your support,
from the Whale Wise team