A British marine biologist conducts research on minke whales
Michael Tetley, a British marine biologist that specialises in minke whales visited Husavik for 2 weeks this summer, conducting research on the minke whales. The research is in cooperation with the Húsavík Whale Museum which frequently gets scientists from all over the world volunteering to work at the Museum.
Within the very short time Michael was in Húsavík he managed to analyze an astonishing amount of documents and data the Whale Museum staff have collected on their Photo ID project.
During the past 5 years, staff from the Whale Museum has gone out daily on North Sailing’s boats to take photos and document behaviour of whales and dolphins in the bay. Whales and dolphins can be identified by their flukes, dorsal fins and scars/marks on their body and therefore the Photo ID project makes it possible to estimate the number of individuals in the area.
Michael has had a huge input into the research and his help continues as he has agreed to send over one of his master students next year to do further research in the area.
The photo ID programme offers great opportunities, not just for information on the whales in Skjalfandi bay, but also in a much more international context. It is now possible to send the photos and data to international databases that specialises in analyzing photos of whales/dolphins and identifying the animals. This could potentially give us much further information on where the whales go to during the winter and in general a greater understanding of the whales/dolphins behaviour.
We look forward to seeing more of Michael and his work in the coming years.
Michael found six identifiable humpback whales.
And seven identifiable minke whales.
Whitebeaked dolphins can often be identified by the marks on their dorsal fins or by unique colouring.
Distribution of whales in Skjálfandi Bay 2004.
© Michael Tetley
Distribution of whales in Skjálfandi Bay 2005 (June and July). There is an obvious difference in the distribution between the two years.
© Michael Tetley