Photo ID Catalogue

HYPMO manages a publicly-available photo identification catalogue for northern bottlenose whales in the Northeast Atlantic. Here on the website you will find the best photographs of the left side and/or right side of the dorsal fin for each known individual. The online database is searchable via the keywords below – choose “All individuals” to see all individuals! We also keep a catalogue with photographs of the melon (forehead) of the whales, which changes in shape when males mature. 

Using photo identification we can compose a database with all the individuals we have encountered. This information can then be used for example to learn about the whales’ migration patterns, group structures and social life, and to look for signs of interactions with human activities such as entanglement. Photo identification is a powerful tool, but can be hard with northern bottlenose whales which often don’t have many distinctive markings. That’s why we need your help! 

This photo ID catalogue was established using many photos sent to us by researchers, whale watchers and other enthusiasts, which we integrated with an initial catalogue developed at the University of St Andrews. At the moment it covers broadly the northern part of the Northeast Atlantic, the region Iceland-Jan Mayen-Svalbard-Faroes Islands, but we are also interested in photos from lower latitude areas such as off the UK and Ireland. If you are trying to match your own photos to the catalogue and would like to see higher resolution photos or other photos of an individual, let us know.