The Whale Wise team collaborates with several institutions, providing the knowledge and resources necessary to conduct marine conservation research. Whilst our team members are enthusiastic and committed to the cause, we are still young and starting our careers in marine conservation. Therefore, we are grateful to both our local and academic partners, for providing guidance and support throughout the entire process.
Our base outside the field season, the University of Edinburgh (U.K.) provides Whale Wise with resources, funding and expertise. Tom Grove (part of the Whale Wise team) is currently studying a PhD at Edinburgh, working as part of the Changing Oceans Group (School of GeoSciences) and under the supervision of Dr Lea-Anne Henry. Through this, we can benefit from the group’s knowledge in modelling the response of marine life to human activity. More generally, the School of GeoSciences has an amazing breadth of expertise in relevant areas such as conservation, social science and drones.
We are also working with the university’s Clinical Research Facility. Specifically, we are using the mass spectrometry core to process and analyse blow samples, measuring the concentration of various hormones and other molecules. As a result, Dr Natalie Homer- director of the mass spectrometry core- is another supervisor for Tom’s PhD.
University of Iceland
The University of Iceland’s Húsavík Research Centre is fundamental to our current work. Run by Professor Marianne Rasmussen (another supervisor of Tom’s PhD), the research centre provides us with accommodation, equipment, and whale expertise, having conducted marine mammal research since 2007. Without their support, Whale Wise would not exist today.
Working with the research centre also allows us to join whale watching vessels belonging to North Sailing
, the largest tour operator in Húsavík. The entire North Sailing staff- guides, captains, deckhands, engineers, ticket officers and others- have shown us amazing generosity, providing advice and friendship throughout.
Húsavík Whale Museum
Hvalasafnið á Húsavík
An important local contact, the Húsavík Whale Museum has supported Whale Wise throughout its first year. We have to be aware that, since the Whale Wise team is not Icelandic, we do not fully understand the cultural context of whales and whaling in the local area. To start, we don’t speak Icelandic! Therefore, we are fortunate to be able to turn to the whale museum, consisting primarily of Icelandic staff, for advice. We hope to make the most of this connection in the future in order to engage with local communities. The museum has also provided us with part-time employment, thereby helping to fund our work.