A Citizen Science Humpback Whale Fluke Identification Project
Help accelerate new discoveries about humpback whales by participating in Match My Whale, a citizen science crowdsourcing project.
By participating in this free program, you’ll learn more about whales and whale research as you help scientists analyze humpback whale flukes photo-identification images from Australia.
Why Whale Research Needs You
Computers can’t compare to the human brain when it comes to recognizing the patterns of pigmentation, scars and other marks found on the ventral (underside) of humpback whale flukes. No two humpback whale flukes look exactly alike, which is why photos of whale flukes serve the same purpose as a human fingerprints.
Over more than three decades, researchers have assembled catalogs of thousands of photos of whale flukes. Each season, many new whale fluke identification photos are added to these catalogs. By comparing new photos to our existing set of photos, we can look for “matches” – where the same whale has been photographed multiple times, perhaps at different locations. These matches or “re-sights” allow us to piece together information about that individual whale.
Finding matches is time-consuming work. We are turning to individuals around the world to help by participating as citizen scientists in this meaningful crowd-sourcing project.