Thursday, April 11, 2013

27th Conference of the European Cetacean Society

Two of Futurismo's marine biologist were present at this years ECS (European Cetacean Society) conference which took place in Setúbal, Portugal from the 8th to the 10th of April. This annual event brings together a large number of cetacean scientists from universities, research institutions, organisations, non-profit groups and whale watching companies from across Europe as well as the rest of the globe. Everybody comes together to share their research results and future ideas in the form of workshops, talks and poster presentations. Futurismo's biologists presented 3 scientific posters about our research on baleen whales (blue whale, fin whales, sei whales, humpback whales, minke whales and Bryde's whales) that we register and photograph during our whale watching tours in São Miguel Island in the Azores. We have recently started putting together photographic catalogues of baleen whales species, and using the last few years of our photographs we were able to photographically identify 45 different blue whales, 45 fin whales and 12 humpback whales, none of which were resighted (i.e. every year we are seeing different whales passing the Azores so that our photographic catalogues keep growing). In recent years we have been registering more encounters, especially blue whale encounters that reached a record high in 2012!

The conference also gave us a chance to learn more from the research that others are doing, and to build further connections to collaborate with other researchers in the area. We can learn a lot more about the cetaceans of the Azores if we can understand their movements across a larger area. At the end of every year we send our sperm whale ID photographs to Lisa Steiner who has the largest sperm whale catalogue in the Azores, which contains sperm whale matches with other islands in the region. We hope in the near future to be able to understand more about sperm whale group structure and movements, as well as the migration paths of the baleen whales that pass the Azores very year.

Following are some photos of the Futurismo at the poster sessions of the ECS conference in Setúbal:
Marine Biologist Clara Sardà presenting one of the posters

Marine Biologist Miranda van der Linde presenting one of the posters

 Some of the other posters on display

 Miranda and Clara presenting our blue whale poster

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