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Ocean Sounds Foundation

About Ocean Sounds Foundation

Ocean Sounds Foundation is a non-profit organization studying whales and dolphins. Our research encompasses the Vestfjord, Lofoten Islands and surrounding areas.

Head researcher Heike Vester has been studying whales in the Lofoten area since 2005 and founded Ocean Sounds in Norway in August 2005 with the purpose of combining the scientific research with education and art.

Since 2005 we have identified over 12 species of marine mammals. Some of them are local species that live here all year round, such as the harbor porpoise and the European otter, while other species that pass regularly throughout the year, such as the long-finned pilot whale or killer whales. We also have summer guest on their long migration route from the tropics to the Arctic, such as Minke whales, humpback- and fin whales or male sperm whales.

Our research and education projects range from year-round monitoring field work (including photo-ID) to seasonally more specific projects such as social behavior and vocal communication of whales and dolphins.

Our Goals & Projects in Norway:

  • Long-term monitoring of all marine mammals in the Vestfjord since 2005, create baseline data to monitor changes in whale abundance and behavior due to climate change and other man-made impacts.

  • Study of Vocal & Social behavior of long-finned pilot whales and killer whales since 2005 to preserve the nature of these highly developed and intelligent animals and help stop harm, captivity and reduce other disturbing human impacts such as boat noise and disturbances from irresponsible whale watching activities.

  • Research project on vocal communication of killer whales and long-finned pilot whales in cooperation with Kurt Hammerschmidt, CogEth, German Primate Center, Göttingen and Sarah Hallerberg, Marc Timme, Florencia Noruega, MPI for non-linear dynamics and self-organization, Göttingen, Germany.

  • Protecting Whales of Lofoten & Vesterålen from oil exploration Monitoring whales and dolphins in Lofoten and educating people about the impacts of seismic surveys in Lofoten and Vesterålen and surrounding waters 2009-present.

Past projects:

  1. Information center 2006-2014 with exhibitions, lectures and discussions - closed!

  2. Marine wildlife tours, combining research and tourism 2006-2010 - closed!

  3. Art happenings: Whale festival 2011, and many different smaller projects with artists

  4. Field excursion to Svalbard and the Barents Sea with M/S Esperanza, Greenpeace Norway, summer 2014

  5. Teaching Marine Mammal Biology and supervising Master thesis in cooperation with UiN: Ellyne Hamran, Felipe Matos

  6. Research project on long-finned pilot whales in cooperation with Charlotte Cure and Patrick Miller, SMRU, St. Andrews, UK.

Project Locations

Norway                             Indonesia                   USA                    Germany

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