Aberdeen University Grading Program

Welcome to the University of Aberdeen Lighthouse Field Station’s bottlenose dolphin citizen science project.

If you’d like learn more about and help with our bottlenose dolphin photo-identification research please register below.  You’ll assist the research by grading our bottlenose dolphin pictures for quality using a simple step-by-step guide.  Grading ensures only the best pictures are chosen, so we correctly identify each individual dolphin.  By crowdsourcing this research, photos can be graded for quality faster and more effectively.

Our bottlenose dolphin photo-identification project began in 1989 and is the longest running individual based study of bottlenose dolphins in the UK, and one of the longest in the world. We take photographs of the bottlenose dolphins on the east coast of Scotland each summer. Using the natural marks (nicks and tooth rakes) on the dolphins’ dorsal fins we can identify the individuals and keep track of their movements, how many there are, the number of calves they have and lots more about the dolphins’ ecology and biology.

These are an example of some of our photos. The first is of #11 Muddy who was born in 1988. Next is her mum #9 Guinness who we still see today!  Muddy has had 6 calves, who we all still see, the first when she was 14 years old. Her second calf is #1024 Murky who was born in 2007. In 2015 Murky had her own calf, #1200, who is our second 4th generation calf.

Most of our work is in the Moray Firth Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and our main research goal is to support conservation and management of the east coast Scotland population. This SAC is one of only three in the UK and we are tasked by Scottish Natural Heritage to monitor and provide regular conservation status updates. To find out more go to www.abdn.ac.uk/lighthouse.

To REGISTER please click here and then LOG IN with your e-mail address and password below to get started.

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