Narwhal Translational Technologies Expedition

Narwhal Translational Technologies Expedition

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
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Dates / Project duration

July 2018 - August 2018 / 2 months

Field of action :

Conservation of endangered species

Branch :


Location :


Project sponsor(s) :


This project is analysing narwhal evolution and adaptation in the Polar Regions. Previous research has uncovered the unusual sensory characteristics of the narwhal. The current research focuses on the sensory ability of electric field detection, as previous data collected indicate a clear electric field component. Added information from research during this field season provides the needed data to statistically evaluate these results, since acquiring data is more complicated and difficult in the High Arctic with such an elusive species. Narwhal may indeed give valuable information about our changing climate, and nature’s ability to adapt or suffer as a consequence.


During the field research, attention is paid toward captured specimens and any variations of tusk expression that may be useful for genetic sample collection. Collection of Inuit traditional knowledge about the narwhal has been obtained and archived over the past 15 years and has provided invaluable information to direct the science of understanding the purpose and function of the tusk.

Interviews with hunters in the field camp, as well as other community members visiting the camp and those selected during brief times in the town, would be completed on questions of narwhal tusk anatomy, morphology, and behavior.