Your photographs can assist with whale research!
Each season many encounters with humpback whales will be photographed by whale watch tour operators and their passengers. Some of these photos can provide useful scientific information and currently represent an untapped source of important data.
This study involves the development of a catalogue of humpback whale tail fluke photographs that have been collected aboard Australian east coast whale watch tour vessels.
Why photograph whales?
Every humpback whale has a unique pattern of pigmentation on the underside of its tail fluke.
Photographs of flukes enable researchers to identify individual whales - repeated sightings of individuals from year to year or along a migration path can reveal valuable information about life histories, population size, migration timing, travel speeds, movement and association patterns.
The images above show the unique pigmentation patterns under the tail fluke
Learn more about what makes a scientifically useful fluke photo.
The photos will be analyzed using Fluke Matcher, the computerized matching system developed by SCU and University of Newcastle
To submit photosTo submit a photo to the East Coast Whale Watch Catalogue, please use the online form to record your contact details and some information about when and where the photo was taken, then follow the instructions to add the images and click the 'submit' button.