Scientific researches in Skjálfandi Bay
At the Husavik Research center Dr. Marianne Rasmussen and Ph.D student Edda Elísabet Magnúsdóttir have been working on a new reasearch on whales in Skjálfandi Bay. This reasearch is unique because they use technology that has never before been used in cold waters. This technology is called EAR (Ecological Acoustic Recorder) and has been developed by Dr. Marc Lammers from the University of Hawaii. The purpose of the EAR is to record long-term acoustic patterns of marine mammals. Marianne and Edda, along with Dr. Lammers deploeyed two EAR's in Skjálfandi Bay on the 3rd of September 2008.
Dr. Marc Lammers, Dr. Marianne Rasmussen and Edda Elísabet in September 2008 Photo:Marianne Rasmussen
The aim of this reasearch is to get some idea of the distribution abundance of whales the whole year round but up untill now it has been difficult to get an idea of the distribution during the winter time. This is of course a long-term project and Marianne and Edda will combine different methods for this research and using the EAR's is a part of that.
Last week Marianne and Edda went out on Náttfari, one of North Sailing boats, to retrive one EAR from the bay but they plan to retrive the second shortly. They sucessfully retrived the EAR but have not yet had the chance to look at the results.
Marianne and Edda at their office after retrieving the EAR
Up untill now there have mostly been recorded sounds from dolphins in Icelandic waters so if they succeded in recording sounds from minke whales or humpback whales this winter it will be the first time that we get sounds from baleen whales in Icelandic waters.
It will be very exciting to see the results of this experiment and hopefully this will give us better idea of the lives and travels of these mysterious animals. We will report as soon as Marianne and Edda have got some more results.
For more information on EAR's we recommend the home page of the Oceanwide Science Institution http://oceanwidescience.org/index.htm
Náttfari comes into the harbour from the EAR trip
Photo: Kristján Þ.