Land-based observations in Shetland
Field work in 2020 was postponed to summer 2021 due to COVID-19. The main summer field season coincides with the harbour breeding in June-August; see the project blog about Julia’s first PhD field work in summer 2021. Saana and Julia (see team) will be heading to Shetland again later in the 2021, coinciding with the grey seal breeding season. In Shetland, we work closely with Karen Hall, Hugh Harrop and other members of the Shetland Orca Sightings network. We welcome contributions by everyone interested in recording their observations of killer whales and their prey species, including grey and harbour seals, whether based on the isles or mainland Scotland (how to get involved).
Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM)
We deployed acoustic recorders in Scapa Flow, Orkney in July-August 2019, and continue recording in Scapa Flow (Orkney) and near Duncansby head (Caithness) in 2021. The aim is to acoustically record killer whales and harbour seals in areas of concern for the seal population, and describe the underwater soundscape, including ambient noise levels. The deployments are kindly supported by Marine Scotland Science and the Northern Lighthouse Board. Thanks to the local sighting networks in Orkney (Orkney Cetacean Sightings and OMMRI), we are able to look for acoustic detections at times when killer whales are sighted in the Flow. For more information on the Scapa Flow deployment, see this brief blog.