The eWHALE project is funded by Biodiversa+ and unites researchers, industry partners and the public across Europe to implement a novel strategy for marine biodiversity monitoring. We produce marine biodiversity data from water samples collected close to whales. These contain trace amounts of DNA from the whale and every other species present. Their molecular analysis will reveal information on whale population structure as well as their prey.
In the eWHALE project, the water samples are taken during whale watching trips and research cruises. Since the boats of the commercial providers are out on the water almost every day and the sampling process is extremely cost- and time-efficient, a high-resolution marine biodiversity data-set is generated. By comparing our results to conventionally obtained data, we showcase the power of molecular methods applied to environmental samples.
We sample environmental DNA of whales, sharks and their prey from water samples.
We analyze environmental DNA to improve our knowledge of whale and shark populations and their feeding ecology.
We strive to educate the public on the importance of marine biodiversity protection, whale ecology and environmental DNA based methods
The scientific partners of the eWHALE
Humpback whale breaching off the Azores (picture credit: CW Azores)
Humpback whale breaching
Humpback whales and the Opal whale watching vessel operated by North Sailing. (picture credit: North Sailing)
Humpback whales and the Opal
(picture credit: Heimir Hardarson)
whales captured via drone
Humpbach wahles and the vessel Hildur operated by North Sailing (picture credit: Nick Bondarev)
Humpback whales and the Hildur
Killer whale off the coast of Iceland (picture credit: Frits Meyst)
Killer whale off Iceland
Project days remaining
eWHALE is a BioDiversa+ project funded by: Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Austria, Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), France, Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland, Ministry of Universities and Research – MUR, Italy, Fundo Regional para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FRCT), Portugal, The Research Council of Norway (RCN), Norway, Rannís (Rannsóknamiðstöð Íslands), Iceland