Climate Change


 Whale Watching

Research Project

Andreia G. Sousa


Global temperatures have increased by 0.85ºC between 1880 and 2012 due to an increase in emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. The effects of increased atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions leading to global warming, originates an increase in ocean heat content, ocean acidification, sea level rise and changes in current systems, contributing to the loss of marine biodiversity and ecosystem functions (IPCC, 2014; EEA, 2016). These changes can have large impacts on both human and natural systems. The impact of climate change to whale watching is largely unknown despite the socio-economic importance of the activity for island communities.


Assess the biological and social-economic implications of climate change for whale watching and propose adaptation measures for the sustainability of the activity in the long term.

Case Studies

 The research project will be carried out in the European islands of Macaronesia: Azores, Madeira and Canary islands.


The Climate Change and Whale Watching activity is a PhD project that will study the impact of climate change to whale watching in Azores, Madeira and Canary islands (EU islands of Macaronesia). The project will be supported by SOCLIMPACT through stakeholder engagement and workshops. The project is a part of the PhD scholarship funded by the Portuguese Science and Foundation Technology attributed to Andreia Sousa. 

The scholarship is awarded by the PhD Programme in  Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policies ( The scholarship begun in September 2017 with a curricular year and the following three years  (until 2021) will be dedicated to the development of the PhD project in the Center for ecology, evolution and environmental changes - CE3C (

The project has an informal discussion group on Facebook(


SOCLIMPACT ( is a EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation project that aims at modelling and assessing climate change impacts and low carbon transition pathways in case studies that cover 12 European islands and archipelagos.

The project is expected to develop a thorough understanding on how climate change will impact some of the most important Blue Economy sectors (tourism, marine energy, aquaculture and maritime transportation) in the EU islands of Azores, Balearic Islands, Baltic Islands, Canary Islands, Corsica, Crete, Cyprus, French West Indies, Madeira, Malta, Sardinia and Sicilia. It will further focus on how these sectors (or combinations of) will be able to respond to the projected impacts and vulnerabilities via adaptation and mitigation options.

The University of Lisbon - Faculty of Sciences/FC.ID is the Island Focal Point for the Autonomous Region of Azores and will carry out stakeholder involvement in the region for all Blue economy sectors including the whale watching case study within the coastal and maritime tourism sector. 

The case study  aims to identify, together with whale watching companies, climate adaptation measures that will ensure the sustainability of whale watching in the long term.