Thursday 1. March 2012

Lunch Lecture: Scientific Data Collection During Whale Watches

The topic of Friday's lunch lecture will be whale-watches as a platform of opportunity for data collection on whales and dolphins in Icelandic coastal waters. The lecture, which starts at 12.10, will be given by Chiara Giulia Bertulli, PhD student at the University of Iceland.


Chiara has been working in the field of marine mammals for the last six years, investigating the feeding behaviour of minke whales and white-beaked dolphins and inspecting the foraging association of both species with coastal seabirds. Her marine mammal background has included work with a variety of species, in many different locations (Norway, New Zealand and Australia), and with different research methodologies, including photo-identification work/fin matching and distance sampling.


The lunch lecture, which will be in English, starts at 12.10 and everyone is welcome to attend.


About the lecture

Data from opportunistic platforms (e.g. shipping vessels, ferries, cruise ships and whale watches) are widely used for scientific studies looking at the abundance, encounter rate and/or distribution of whales or other marine mammals. Such platforms are often available for research, although under certain constraints, and can provide continuous coverage of research areas.

From April-September between 2007-2010 and 2001-2010 during whale-watching operations in Faxaflói Bay (FB) and Skjálfandi Bay (SB) in the SW and NE coasts of Iceland, a non-invasive observational approach, based on behavioural sampling, was adopted in association with systematic photo-identification to describe the occurrence, distribution, site fidelity, group size and behaviour of common minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and white-beaked dolphins (Lagenorhynchus albirostris).
The southwest coast and northeast of Iceland were found to be important sites for our two species and providing excellent research opportunities due to their critical habitat and to the nature of the readily available opportunistic platforms for research e.g. well supplied and developed whale-watching industries.

The logo of the Faxaflói Cetacean Research Project
The logo of the Faxaflói Cetacean Research Project