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Futurismo Cetacean Photo-ID

Our biologists photograph, identify and catalogue individuals that are encountered, allowing us to learn more about the individuals and populations of whales and dolphins of the Azores. Photo-identification of whales and dolphins allows us to get a better understanding of abundance on a long time scale, group composition and social structure, migration patterns and demographics such as life expectancy and reproductive rate. Futurismo currently has photographic catalogues of sperm whales, blue whales, fin whales, pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins and Risso’s dolphins, and orcas. This information is shared with other companies around the world as well as in scientific conferences that our biologists attend. We invite our passengers to contribute to our research by sending in photographs for identification, and in return we inform those passengers when their photographed individuals are later resighted.

Futurismo’s research has contributed to increasing our understanding of whale movements on a large spatial scale. A sperm whale that was first identified in the Azores in 1990 by renowned sperm whale biologist Lisa Steiner was later sighted in the Canary Islands in 1993 and 2008, 18 years after being first registered in the Azores. This whale later returned to the Azores where it was re-sighted by a marine biologist working for Futurismo.  Futurismo’s contributions to scientific research have also led to another unique photographic match. For the first time a “connect the dots” link was made for a humpback whale in the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalogue. This whale travelled from the Cape Verde Islands to São Miguel Azores (where it was photographed by one of Futurismo’s biologist), to Norway and later back to Cape Verde.