Cape Verde Expedition 2012: Fieldwork Report

28th Jul 2012

A summary report from the fourth IWDG research expedition to Cape Verde is available to download.

Cape Verde 2012 Expedition Report:
Download PDFDownload Report (PDF 2.4MB)


The lab works from tissue samples collected during last year's expedition are compete and analysis of the results are under-way. These findings will form part a PhD at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. Much of our data are shared with collaborators; contributing to long-term international projects on humpback whale ecology. The latest expedition brings to 48 the number of DNA samples taken from Cape Verde humpback whales. The analysis of this years samples will be carried out by Martine Berube and Per Palsboll in Groningen University, Netherlands. Per and Martine use 'genetic tagging' where individuals are genotyped (genetic barcode) and compared with over 7500 others from the entire North Atlantic (West Indies, Gulf of Maine, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Ireland collected between 1988 and 2011). Similar to photo-ID,  matches may be found between regions which can be used to track  movements. The additional benefit of genetic analysis is that it also allows for detailed analysis of populations and relatedness. One benefit of genetic tagging over photo ID, is that the sample can be reanalysed as techniques in genetics improve to derive information on familial relationships and even mating strategies.

Many thanks to our sponsors, Island Foundation, and local whale guru Pedro Lopez-Suarez. Without their generosity, this expedition would not have been possible.

Conor Ryan