The Humpback Whale World Congress is twinned with the World Whale Conference and Whale Heritage Sites Summit, which will take place immediately before in nearby Durban, South Africa, and will discuss some of the same key topics including marine protected areas, responsible whale watching, and cultural links between cetaceans and local communities.

icon-balProvisional Program

Venue to Reunion Island, Indian Ocean

  • July 3 morning: Congress official opening with exhibition official opening
  • July 3, 4 & 5 : plenary sessions and oral presentations
  • July 6 : special sessions and thematic workshops
  • July 6 evening : Closing Ceremony
  • July 7 : completion of workshops and « whale watching »

Download the detailed program here.

Delegation of HWWC

Delegation of HWWC 1st edition, organized in Sainte-Marie Island, Madagascar, in 2015.

2nd edition of the Humpback Whale World Congress

Reunion Island, Indian Ocean


Date: from July 3rd to July 7th, 2017

Where: Auditorium of the Stella Museum (July 3, 4, 5 and 6)

Whale watching July 7th

Cadre: Oral presentations and posters


Sunday July 2nd, 2017

 Ice breaking and welcoming Ceremony +  Registration

Monday July 3rd, 2017


8am: Welcoming + Registration

8:30am: Official opening: Broadcast of image and songs of whales,

9:15am: Special regional session focused on Whales’s routes

10:00 am: Presentation of the exhibition with projection of the making of

10:20am: Opening of the exhibition

Session #1: Conservation and research in Reunion Island, Chairman: Oswaldo Vasquez

11:00am: Keynote Speaker: Collins Tim: Light sometimes radiates from dark corners – the link between awareness and conservation success

11:50am: Dulau Violaine et al.: An overview of 15 years of humpback whale study in Reunion Island (2001-2016): insights for conservation

12:10am: Estrade Vanessa et al: To come or not to come? First attempt to explain variation in humpback whale occurrence around Reunion Island

12:30pm: Lunch


Session #2: Breeding and acoustic behavior, Chairman: Eduardo Mercado

2pm: Keynote Speaker: Pack Adam: Twenty years of sizing whales underwater: Insights into the behavioral ecology and mating system of humpback whales in the Hawaiian breeding grounds

2:50pm: Di Clemente Jacopo et al.: The mating songs of Comorian humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae): a first description 2:10pm: Saloma Anjara et al.: Humpback whales mother-calf vocal repertoire in the Sainte Marie channel breeding ground

3:30pm: Charrier Isabelle et al.: Vocal activity and diving profiles in mother-calf humpback whales during the breeding season in Madagascar

3:50pm: Ceyrac Laura et al.: Using passive acoustic to assess humpback whale occurrence and breeding activity around Reunion Islan

4:10pm: Coffee break, poster session and visit of the exhibition

Session #3: Numerical tools & Data management, Chairman: Claire Garrigue

4:30pm: Keynote Speaker: Blount Drew: Flukebook: Computer Vision, Open Science, and A.I. for Humpback Whales

5:20pm: Johnson Tory et al.: A new web-based tool and methodology for working toward a global humpback whale photo-ID catalog

5:40pm: Ngafack Rodrique et al.: Citizen Science: Involving local communities and citizens into marine mammal research and conservation using mobile App in Cameroon

6pm: End of the day sessions

Tuesday July 4th, 2017


8am: Welcome to the participants (coffee)

Session #4: Migration behavior, Chairman: Violaine Dulau

8:30am: Keynote Speaker: Cerchio Salvatore: Contrasting movement patterns of migratory and non-migratory baleen whale populations

9:20am: Trudelle Laurène et al.: Differences and commonalities among coastal movements and habitat use patterns of various humpback whale populations of the Southern Hemisphere during the breeding period: Preliminary results

9:40am: Garrigue Claire et al.: Spatial distribution of humpback whales in breeding grounds: where should we look? Exploration of New Caledonian remote waters as a case study

10:00am: Vasquez Oswaldo: Current status of Humpback Whales in Island of Santo Domingo  »

10:20am: Vély Michel et al.: Humpback whale satellite-tracking reveals the connectivity between the Northern Lesser Antilles and the importance of regional collaboration to conserve marine biodiversity  »

10:40am: Coffee break »

Session #5: Analytical tool and Behavior, Chairman: Joy Reidenberg

11:00am: Keynote Speaker: Hunt Kathleen: Feces, blow and baleen: Modern approaches to assessment of stress and reproduction in humpback whales using alternative sample types

11:50am: Marchesseau Schédir et al.: Do Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) newborn calves have a preference to position themselves to a side of their mother?

12:10pm: Lunch


Session #6: Population genetics, Chairman: Salvatore Cerchio

1pm: Keynote Speaker: Palsboll Per: Changes in baleen whale abundance, distribution and migration during present and past climate changes

1:50pm: Kershaw Francine et al.: Multiple processes drive genetic structure of humpback

2:10pm: Lambert Aurore et al.: Genetic characterization of humpback whales in the Ile Sainte-Marie Waters (Madagascar)

2:30pm: Bonneville Claire et al.: Temporal and spatial investigation of genetic diversity in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) wintering in New Caledonia

2:50pm: Jung Jean-luc et al.: Targeted studies to decipher humpback whale genetic diversity

3:10pm: Coffee break, poster session and visit of the exhibition

Session #7: Anatomy, Chairman: Isabelle Charrier

3:30pm: Keynote Speaker: Reidenberg Joy: Humpback Hyoid: A New Function for an Old Bone

4:20pm: Damien Juliette et al.: Anatomy and functional morphology of the rorqual whale larynx:phonation positions of the U-fold

Session #8: Regional Network, Chairman: Per Palsboll

4:40pm: Dulau Violaine et al.: IndoCet Consortium: an Indian Ocean network for Cetacean Research

5:00pm: Minton Gianna: The Arabian Sea Whale Network: A regional approach to conservation of an endangered population

5:20pm: End of the day sessions

Wednesday July 5th, 2017


8am: Welcome to the participants (coffee)

Session #9: Molecular, Analytical and Acoustic tools, Chairman: Olivier Adam

8:30am: Keynote Speaker: Jarman Simon: Age estimation in humpback whales by analysis of DNA methylation

9:20am: Mercado Eduardo et al.: Timing and reverberation in humpback whale songs

9:40am: Nolibe Gilles et al.: Acoustic interferometry technique used for localization of sound sources. Application to localize “singing” humpback whales and analyze behavior on spatial acoustic channel occupation

10:00am: Doh Yann et al.: Stereophonic medium term recording of humpback whales in the canal of Sainte Marie (Madagascar): daily evolution of the density and acoustic interactions

10:20am: Sousa-Lima Renata et al.: 17 years of eavesdropping on singing male humpback whales in the Abrolhos Bank, Brazil

10:40: Coffee break, poster session and visit of the exhibition

Session #10: Human interaction, Chairman: Laurene Trudelle

11:00am: Keynote Speaker: Christiansen Fredrik: Predicting population consequences of disturbance on baleen whales

11:50am: Kate Sprogis: Impacts of swim-with humpback whale interactions and assessing human safety in the Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia

12:10pm: Lunch


Session #11: Population, Chairman: Jean-Luc Jung

1pm: Keynote Speaker: Waples Robin: The relationship between census size (N) and effective size (Ne) in humpback whale populations

1:50pm: Mwang’ombe Michael Gilbert et al.: Improving the understanding of the humpback whales migration through Kenyan waters

2:10pm: Gonçalves Maria Isabel et al.: Serra Grande region as a Brazilian breeding area of humpback whales

2:30pm: Gribaudo César et al.: Humpback whales in the Saint George Gulf, Patagonia, Argentina

2:50pm: Kiani Muhammad Shoaib: Status of the Arabian Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Pakistan

3:10pm: Eugénio Inteca Gelica et al.: Report of whale watching in Vamizi island, north of Mozambique, before, during and after an El Ninõ year

3:30pm: Coffee break, poster session and visit of the exhibition

Session #12: Socio-economic studies, Chairman: Fredrik Christiansen

3:50pm: Andrianarivelo Norbert et al.: Protection and valorization of the whales and dolphins by the local community in the municipalities of Anakao, Soalara Sud and Saint Augustin, Toliara, South west of Madagascar.

4:10pm: Sandron Frederic et al.: Humpback whales and whale watching: A survey about whale watchers in Reunion

4:30pm: Ralaizara Brigida: The challenges of citizen science: case of whale-watching activity in Sainte-Marie island (Madagascar) Island

4:50pm: Fernandes Luena et al.: An Integrated Framework to Assess the Carrying Capacity of Humpback Whale-Watching Tourism in Praia do Forte, Northeastern Brazil

5:10pm: End of the day sessions

Thursday 6th July 2017


8:30am: Welcoming

9:00am: Special session organized by the council of Reunion Island.

9:50 am: Signing of Code of Ethics for Approach of Marine Mammals and Turtles

10:00 am: Word from Sebastien Folin followed by a projection of the movie « Vacarme en Haute mer »

12:00 Lunch


2:00pm: Indian Ocean Cetacean Workshop, please find the announcement here

Workshop on Whale Heritage Trails by Dylan Walker (World Cetacean Alliance)

3:00pm: Coffee break

3:20pm: Return to Workshops

5:45pm: End of workshops

6:30pm: Cocktail

Friday 7th July 2017

08:30am: Departure for the sea trip.

12:00: Return to the hotel.


IndoCet Consortium Workshop Announcement

The Indian Ocean Cetacean Consortium (IndoCet) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) Biodiversity Program funded by the European Union, are organizing a workshop on Cetacean research and conservation for the Indian Ocean region.

This will be held during the Humpback Whale World Congress (HWWC) on 6th July 2017 at the Museum STELLA MATUTINA, Piton Saint-Leu, Reunion Islands.

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the newly initiated IndoCet Consortium to cetacean researchers in the region and open membership, promote exchanges on ongoing cetacean conservation and research efforts in the south-west Indian Ocean region, and encourage the development of partnership and regional cooperation.

The working session is opened to the actual and potential members of the Indian Ocean Cetacean Network (Indocet) as well as other researchers and managers working in cetacean conservation for the Indian Ocean region

The agenda of the workshop will be shared soon.

More information can be obtained from Salvatore CERCHIO ‘’ copy to Violaine DULAU and Said AHAMADA <> for questions related to the workshop content and IOC Biodiversity Secretariat <> copy to Dina ANDRIANAIVORAVELONA , for logistic issues.


Please download here the french version of the HWWC2017 report