One of the Madeira Whale Museum’s aims is to generate knowledge on cetaceans and the marine environment. To this end the museum undertook several scientific studies on this group of marine animals. The science section in Madeira Whale Museum began in 1995 with the systematic recording of information on stranded cetaceans in the Madeira archipelago (see Racam). The first research project to be dedicated to cetaceans in the Madeira archipelago took place in late 2000 ( see projects).
Scientific research in the Madeira Whale Museum throughout the years has led to the development of several projects which sought to improve the knowledge of the biology of these magnificent creatures that inhabit the Madeiran Sea. Initially and because little or nothing was known about cetaceans in the archipelago, the main objectives were the census of the cetacean species that live in the sea of Madeira, as well as to assess the occurrence frequency, distribution and activities that they perform. With the development of the projects and the increase of knowledge, the museum’s scientific research sought the answers to more specific questions, such as the pilot whale, bottlenose dolphin and sperm whale population genetics in the archipelagos of Madeira, Azores and Canary islands along with the genetic studies of the common dolphin and the Atlantic spotted dolphin in the archipelagos of Madeira and Azores. With the placement of transmitters in species such as the pilot whale, the sperm whale and beaked whales we studied the diving ecology of these species, however further studies should be carried out.
The Museum’s scientific research has been possible with the support of Machico’s Municipality funding and international funding programmes namely, LIFE, INTERREG and FCT. During the course of these projects the museum acquired a series of equipments namely boats, cameras, GPSs, PCs, hydrophones, etc. with which it has applied several methodologies for cetaceans study (see projects) .
Here are some pictures of sightings in the waters of the Madeira Archipelago.