Wildlife organisations are urging "citizen scientists" to take part in a national whale and dolphin watch event to help protect the species.

The initiative, which has been running for more than 40 years, asks members of the public to report sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises to the Sea Watch Foundation which keeps records of their numbers.

Last year 757 sightings were logged around Scotland during the nine day event.

Dr Chiara Giulia Bertulli, sightings officer and lead organiser of this year's National Whale and Dolphin Week (NWDW) event, which runs from Saturday July 27 to August 4, urged people to take part.

She said: "It's all about reporting your whale, dolphin and porpoise sightings as well as getting out there to look for them.

"Without collecting information about numbers, locations, and behaviour, it is impossible for scientists and conservationists to know how to develop plans to protect cetacean species in our seas."

She added: "We need as many eyes on the sea as possible. That means we're looking for people all around the Scottish coast to arrange a watch for themselves and for everybody to report the animals that they see."

Orcas, white-beaked dolphins, humpback whales and minke whales are among the species which have been spotted around Scotland.

The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust has launched a new sighting app the Whale Track app to help people record sightings.

Dr Lauren Hartny-Mills, the trust's science officer, said: "With the help of our new sighting app, the Whale Track app, everyone (wildlife enthusiasts as well as boat operators) is now able to record and submit their sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises from across the Hebrides."

More information about NWDW is available at www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/nwdw