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Our youngest reporter, 13-year-old Nina Vennis, met Petersfield whale biologist Leigh Hickmott, who recalls a close encounter with a blue whale among other creatures.

Whale biologist Leigh Hickmott (... he's the one in the foreground)
Whale biologist Leigh Hickmott (… he’s the one in the foreground)

Leigh studied zoology and marine biology at Aberdeen and St Andrew’s universities, beginning his career in 1998 studying bottle-nose dolphins in the Murray Firth, Scotland.

His research focuses on foraging ecology (studying how feeding behaviour is influenced by the environment) and the effects of man-made noise on marine mammals. His work takes him to all four corners of the planet and from pole to pole; collaborating on conservation-based projects studying beaked whales, blue whales and the world’s apex predator: the killer whale.