Ocean science is vital for a sustainable future.

Our planet's oceans are climate regulators and host a vast diversity of wildlife and resources. We now move from a utilitarian view of the ocean (where its occupants are either food, possessions, or sport) towards protecting biodiversity and acknowledging wildlife's intrinsic value.

At UiT, we run a number of whale research projects with the main goal of providing deeper knowledge on how these animals behave and interact with their surrounding environment.

Whaletrack (2013-2018)

Whaletrack project aims to gain better knowledge about the behavior of humpback and killer whales, both before, during and after the period they feed on overwintering herring in the fjords or off the coast of Northern Norway. The project has focused on mapping the horizontal and vertical migration patterns of humpback and killer whales. Contact persons: Audun Rikardsen (UiT):, Mari-Anne Blanchet (UiT):, Nils Øien (HI):, Martin Biuw (HI):, Fredrik Broms (, Lars KLeivane, (LKARTS-Norway, tagging methods):

Whalefeast (2018-2021)

Whalefeast is a continuation of Whaletrack now including a closer cooperation with the fisheries and tourism industry, as well as using eDNA- techniques in addition to already collected data. Contact persons: Audun Rikardsen (UiT):, Nils Øien (HI):, Martin Biuw (HI):, Fredrik Broms (, Lars KLeivane, (LKARTS-Norway, tagging methods):

New metrics for marine monitoring (2021)

Noise pollution masks natural sounds and degrades human wellbeing and connection to nature. In this pilot study, we will use the novel acoustic indices to determine periods of high biodiversity and estimate seasonal occurrence of anthropogenic and meteorological activity. We will rely on known human interpretations of sounds (pleasure, annoyance) to derive thresholds of human tolerance based on the acoustic biological and anthropogenic activity present in the dataset. Contact persons: Sofia Aniceto (UiT):, Geir Pedersen (HI):, Rose Keller (NINA):, Espen Rafter (Polaria):

Sperm whale tracking (2020-2023)

Contact persons: Audun Rikardsen (UiT):, Mari-Anne Blanchet (UiT):, Tiu Simila:

Spatial and temporal analyses of marine mammal vocalizations using unmanned systems (2019-2022)

Marine mammals spend a considerable time under water often vocalizing, and the use of acoustic equipment and suitable methods to interpret the recordings are increasingly important. This postdoc project exploits spatio-temporal behaviour and ecological relationships of whale acoustic occurrence collected by autonomous vehicles under the GLIDER project (Akvaplan-niva) and LoVeOcean Observatory (IMR) in the Nordland region of Northern Norway. Contact persons: Sofia Aniceto (UiT):, Raul Primicerio (UiT):, Lionel Camus (ApN):, Luca Tassara (ApN):, Geir Pedersen (IMR):