In September 2017 Daniel, alongside his partner – marine conservationist Emily Cunningham, headed to the Azores. This Portuguese archipelago is located in wild seas of the central Atlantic and is famed for its incredible diversity and abundance of marine life.

The purpose of this expedition was twofold. Firstly to collect fresh tissue samples from the Yellowmouth Barracuda, Sphyraena viridensis, to extend the study of their genetic population structure that formed a key feature of Daniel’s PhD research. The second objective was to establish an enduring collaboration with fellow scientists on the island of Faial whom were studying local populations of the principal species of Daniel’s PhD research – Bottlenose Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus.

Daniel and Emily first visited the island of Terceira where they were kindly hosted by the University of the Azores and Prof. João Pedro Barreiros. During this time numerous successful spearfishing trips were made into the surrounding marine environment. Additional samples were gathered by working with local fishermen and even collected from supermarkets!

Following meetings on the island of Faial with Dr Mónica Silva of the Department of Oceanography and Fisheries/University of the Azores (DOP/UAz) which resulted in a successful sample and data sharing agreement some time was taken to make the most of the amazing local marine life by observing the resident Sperm Whales. This was a truly great expedition that achieved all objectives in a truly wonderful part of the world.

Island hopping in one of the most beautiful locations in the world.
Science can happen in some unusual locations. Here the expedition team take samples from local supermarkets. © Emily Cunningham
Daniel stands proudly with a fine example of Yellowmouth Barracuda caught by Prof. João Pedro Barreiros (right). © Emily Cunningham
If Carlsberg made beautiful fish… Probably one of the most beautiful fish in the world – the Yellowmouth Barracuda © Emily Cunningham