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DSWP Description


About

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DSWP Description


About

 

The Dominica Sperm Whale Project is an innovative and integrative study of the world's largest toothed whale. Through thousands of hours of observation of sperm whale families, the population of whales in the Caribbean has given us the unique opportunity to come to know them as individuals within families. Our program is the first to have followed sperm whale families of whales across years.  We have followed many calves from birth through weaning and we now know that some families have been using the region for decades. No sperm whale population has been this well characterized and the detailed behavioural histories of these individuals are rare among mammals, particularly in the ocean.

 
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Team


Team

Team


Team

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Shane Gero


Shane Gero

Founder | Principal Investigator

Shane Gero


Shane Gero

Founder | Principal Investigator

Shane had been the driving force behind the DSWP since 2005. He has spent thousands of hours in the company of the over 20 social units off Dominica. His research is focused on the link between multilevel societies and functionally diverse communication systems. Shane is currently a Villum Research Fellow in the Marine Bioacoustics Lab at Aarhus University.

Shane oversees the both the research objectives and the field operations of the DSWP. He co-supervises or sits on the advisory committee of all of the students working on the project. Learn more about Shane at his personal website.

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Peter Madsen


Peter Madsen

Co-Investigator

Peter Madsen


Peter Madsen

Co-Investigator

Peter studies the sensory physiology and behavioral ecology of marine animals with special focus on how they use and produce sound to navigate, find food, avoid predators and communicate. Primary areas of investigation include biosonar and sound production in toothed whales, kinematics of feeding and locomotion in cetaceans, and underwater communication and sound propagation in cetaceans with implications for effects of man-made noise and passive acoustic monitoring.

He is currently working with Shane on aspects of coda communication and co-supervising both Pernille Tønnesen and Anne Bøttcher for their thesis projects.

Peter's Marine Bioacoustics Lab at Aarhus University pursue an integrative biology approach to experiments at an organismal level with emphasis on how animals work in an evolutionary context.

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Hal Whitehead


Hal Whitehead

Founder | Co-Investigator

Hal Whitehead


Hal Whitehead

Founder | Co-Investigator

Hal's work is principally on the behaviour, social structure, population biology and conservation of sperm whales, techniques of studying social structure, and more general questions about social structure in mammals and cultural evolution.

His Cetacean Research Group at Dalhousie University conducts research on the culture, behavioural ecology, social organisation, ranging behaviour, distribution, population biology, acoustic behaviour and conservation of several cetacean species, particularly the sperm whale, northern bottlenose whale, and the long-finned pilot whale.

Hal is currently supervising Christine Konrad and Wilfried Beslin during their masters research.

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Tim Frasier


Tim Frasier

Co-investigator

Tim Frasier


Tim Frasier

Co-investigator

Tim applies genetic analyses to the study of wildlife populations to better understand their biology. Most of his work is on endangered marine mammal species, and therefore our work often involves using genetic analyses to aid management and/or conservation initiatives, to better understand why these endangered species are not recovering, and to identify what role, if any, genetic factors are playing in reducing recovery potential.

He is currently co-supervising Christine Konrad who is investigating the genetic relationships within and between social units

Learn more about Tim and his Lab at St. Mary's University at The Frasier Lab

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Luke Rendell


Luke Rendell

Founder | Co-investigator

Luke Rendell


Luke Rendell

Founder | Co-investigator

Luke has broad research interests, largely centred around the evolution of learning, behaviour and communication, with a special focus on marine mammals.

Luke  is currently supervising Michael Petroni's MRes research on interaction between whales and vessel traffic off Dominica

He is a Lecturer in Biology at the University of St. Andrews and is affiliated with the Scottish Ocean Institute, Sea Mammal Research Unit, the Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution, and the Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciences. LEarn more about Luke on the University of St. Andrews Researcher Portal

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Local Research Team


Local Research Crew

Local Research Team


Local Research Crew

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Pernell Francis
Research Assistant
Photo Identification

 
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Ricardo Barret
Vessel Captain
WET Dominica

 
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Dave Fabien
Vessel Captain
WET Dominica

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Current Students


Current Students

Current Students


Current Students

Balaena from the mast courtesy of Marina Milligan

Wilfried Beslin
MSc Candidate
Dalhousie University

 

Anne Bøttcher
MSc Candidate
Aarhus University

 
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Taylor Hersh
PhD Candidate
Dalhousie University

 

Christine Konrad
MSc Candidate
Dalhousie University

 
Michael's picture is coming soon!

Michael's picture is coming soon!

Michael Petroni
MRes Candidate
University of St. Andrews

 

Pernille Tønnesen
PhD Candidate
Aarhus University

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Past Students


Past Students

Past Students


Past Students

Masters

2012 Marina Milligan

Bachelor

2016 Mia Nielsen

2014 Keith Wigley

2014 Anne Bøttcher

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Funders


Funders

Funders


Funders

Funders

Research funds for past and current work originates from the following organizations: