Long-finned Pilot Whale Project

The long-finned pilot whale is also a dolphin specie just like the killer whale and they are also highly vocal and rely on a variety of different sounds for underwater communication and navigation. They live in matrifocal groups that means that they are led by an older female that guides the pod. They are a nomadic specie that can be found all over the North Atlantic as well as in the Antarctic, and are often travelling through the Vestfjord area on their migrations. They live in groups of 5 to 15 individuals but can sometimes congregate in much larger groups of up to several hundreds of whales. We are studying these whales through passive observation and photography from the boat, as well as from a safe distance above using an aerial drone. This combined with underwater sound recordings from a high-quality hydrophone and with photo-ID are the main methods of tracking individuals. We do this to learn more about how they communicate through sound and social interactions, as well as to understand their social structures and migratory patterns.

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