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Occurrence & social structure of sperm whales off the Azores

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HARRY ECKMAN

Chief Executive Officer

ELIZABETH CUEVAS ZIMBRÓN

Whale Heritage Site Project Manager

MIKI TILLETT

Communications Manager

PATICE TALAUE

Certification Manager

STEFF EATON

Operations Manager

ANDREW SCOON

Sussex Dolphin Project, Project Support Officer

THEA TAYLOR

Sussex Dolphin Project, Lead

DYLAN WALKER

Senior Adviser - Whale Heritage Sites

JEAN-MICHEL COUSTEAU

HONORARY PRESIDENT

IAN LEWIS

Trustee, Life College, UK

ROGER MANN

Trustee, Individual Partners

SUZANNE ROGERS

Trustee, Change for Animals Foundation, UK

Miranda van der Linde, the lead marine biologist working for WCA Partner Futurismo Azores Whale Watching has been studying the whales of the Azores for the past 9 years. Her work on the occurrence and social structure of the sperm whales encountered off São Miguel Island was published online this month in Marine Mammal Science. This new research showed that just like in other well studied populations of sperm whales, the females and young they encounter off São Miguel Island live in social units that stay together for many years.

Some whales and units seem to prefer associating with each other, indicating long term bonds between relatives or friendships between certain individuals. The research also showed that the majority of sperm whales they encounter can be recognised by distinct pigmentation marks on their bodies, not just by their tails.

The encounter data and photographs collected by Futurismo’s marine biologists are an important contributor to science and help increase our understanding of the whales and dolphins encountered in the Azores.

A link to the article can be found here.

Phil
Author: Phil

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