The Power of Citizen Science and Public Sightings

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Key for species abbreviations: RD–Risso’s Dolphin, HP–Harbor Porpoise, BND–Bottlenose Dolphin, SBCM–Short Beaked Common Dolphin, MW–Minke Whale, HW–Humpback Whale 

The above images show the locations of each sighted marine mammal individual logged in by the public each year (2015-2018). As you can see the collection of different species is extremely rich and shows that Manx waters are a very important feeding ground and home to marine mammals. 

Over the years, The Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch have hugely benefited from the contribution in knowledge of cetacean whereabouts logged in by the public. With this invaluable information we can develop an understanding of how whale and dolphin migration, behavior and residency in this part of the Irish sea has changed over time. With the drastic climatic changes which have been taking place in the last decade, conservation related research like population surveying can give us insights into how these species have been affected or could be affected.  

Citizen science involves the collection of scientific data by members of a community in collaboration with scientists which thus contributes to research(in this case, The Isle of Man). As there are only a few of us here at the charity, carrying out continuous surveys is quite difficult in addition to office work and public outreach. Therefore, the community involvement is not only extremely important to us but also enjoyable for all and encourages the curiosity of people of all ages.

We hope to encourage whale and dolphin watching to all people throughout the Isle of Man because you really never know what you will see!

MWDW summer intern, Olivia 


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