Pacific Whale Foundation seeking photos of flukes to help with research
The Pacific Whale Foundation is launching its Finders Free program in collaboration with its PacWhale Eco-Adventures.
The Finders Free program encourages passengers to submit high-resolution photos of whale flukes, the underside of a humpback whale’s tail, for the chance to receive a complimentary future excursion.
Researchers at the Pacific Whale Foundation collect images of whale flukes to document repeat sightings of previously identified and catalogued whales through an applied research methodology known as Marked Resights.
Finders Free will take place through April 23 on any PacWhale Eco-Adventures Whalewatch tours out of Maui’s Lahaina or Maʻalaea harbors.
“Tracking humpback whales is an important part of research, and photo identification is one of the best ways to track individuals,” Chief Scientist Jens Currie said. “The more photos we have of individual whales, the more we know about the population.”
Submissions can be uploaded at pacificwhale.org/research/citizen-science/finders-free where participants can access additional information and guidelines.
Specific photography guidance can be found in PWF’s Camera Settings Guide at pacificwhale.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/RES_Photo-Donation-Cheat-Sheet_R2.pdf.
If the submitted images match an individual already logged into PWF’s extensive Humpback Whale Photo-ID catalog, participants will receive notice of a complimentary future ecotour within four to six weeks of receipt of submission.
“Community scientists are important members of the research team at Pacific Whale Foundation, often providing us with information we otherwise wouldn’t be able to collect,” Currie said.
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