Andenes is a small town located in the Vesterålen archipelago in northern Norway, a pristine area with an important marine and terrestrial biodiversity and natural heritage resources. The local wildlife, landscape, and natural areas, together with peculiar natural events, such as the midnight sun and the northern lights, make Andenes a hotspot for ecotourism year-round. Andenes is famous for its whale watching activity focused on sperm whales, as it is one of the only three spots in the world where adult male sperm whales can be seen.
“Breathing Andenes” will run through 2021 and 2022 and will be led by Dr Mel Cosentino under the direction of Dr Raquel de la Cruz-Modino, in collaboration with Gabriela Bellazzi. Mel is a biologist and ecologist, and her research interests are focused on different aspects of whale, dolphin and porpoise conservation, and she has a good track record of publishing in specialised scientific journals. Mel has extensive knowledge on the topic of whale watching impact, as she carried out her Master’s thesis in Andenes, when she investigated the impact of the whale watching activity on sperm whales. She also led the establishment of the land-based observation platform in the local lighthouse in 2011.