Sperm Whale Photo-Identification and Migration Patterns in the North Atlantic
We are currently contributing identification images of sperm whales that we have collected since 2014 to a long-term study on sperm whales in the North Atlantic, led by Evert Mul at the University of Tromsø (Norway).
Individual sperm whales are recognized by the unique shape and markings on their fluke, such as scars, nicks, and various pigmentation patterns. So far, we have submitted over 2.000 identification images that we collected between 2014 and 2017, mostly during the summer months. The fluke ID pictures we are sending in to Evert are compared with thousands of other images from Norway, Madeira, and countries where sperm whales occasionally strand, such as the UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Denmark.
The pictures might be useful to identify where stranded sperm whales have been observed before, but mostly also to construct a North East Atlantic sperm whale identification catalogue, and to find out about migration patterns of these magnificent giants of the sea. The project ultimately aims at developing an online catalogue accessible to the public.