Australian scientists are excited about a new way to ID humpback whales. They have developed a computer program that identifies them through tail markings. It will help to better understand their behaviors, migration patterns, and other characteristics.
Dr. Daniel Burns
and Dr. Peter Harrison
, both from the Marine Ecology Research Centre at Southern Cross University (SCU, with its main campus in Lismore, New South Wales, Australia); and Dr. Eric Kniest
, from the University of Newcastle (with its main campus in Callaghan, Newcastle, New South Wales) and also associated with SCU, are part of a larger team of Australian scientists involved in the humpback whale identification program.
The Australian Government funds the automated fluke identification program, called Fluke-matcher
The ID program uses photogrammetric techniques in order to identify individual humpback whales.
The computer-aided program called Fluke-matcher has been developed to identify humpback whales through their tail markings.
Such a program is possible because humpback whales are intensively photographed throughout their territories.
Black-and-white pigmentation markings, along with various scratches and other identifying features, are found on the tail fluke of whales, or the tail of whales (whale tails).
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