This PhD. project is conducted by Tom Grove and Whale Wise under the supervision of Dr. Lea-Anne Henry and Dr. Natalie Homer at the University of Edinburgh and Dr. Marianne Rasmussen at the University of Iceland.
Currently, we are investigating the influence of whale-watching vessels (and vessel traffic generally) on humpback whales in Skjálfandi and North Iceland generally. Using methods such as behavioural observation, acoustics and aerial imagery, we hope to deduce the short- and long-term effects of local whale-watching on whale behaviour and population processes. As part of this, we are developing a method to use blow sampling for physiological stress assessment.
Beyond whale-watching, we are also exploring the feasibility of citizen science to monitor whale occurrence and distribution in Icelandic waters.