04 October 2010

A new dolphin investigation begins

We started a new investigation in the Northern Gulf of Evia (click on image to zoom out).

After having spent a part of the summer dealing with all the logistical aspects, Silvia and I finally moved to a convenient location in the central part of the Gulf. We set up a new field station and managed to get appropriate mooring facilities. We are now ready for work at sea.

OceanCare kindly provided funding to start this new enterprise, and lent a new 100HP engine. Work in the Gulf—done in the context of a collaboration between Tethys and OceanCare—should be conducted between autumn 2010 and spring 2011. Depending on the results, we will decide how the project may unfold in future years.

Some information on dolphins in the Northern and Southern Gulfs of Evia was produced in 2003 by researchers Zafiropoulos and Merlini (*), who reported a high density of bottlenose dolphins in the Northern Gulf. Since then, however, no systematic research was conducted.

Our new study intends to complement the existing information and if possible contribute a preliminary estimate of dolphin abundance, as well as information about status and threats, which may support management action.

The work is also intended to provide insight on dolphin ecology and behaviour in different habitats. It is an exciting opportunity to get to know more about dolphins living in the coastal waters of Greece and allow for comparisons among areas exposed to a variety of human impacts, based on work that is now being conducted in four study areas (the other three being the Amvrakikos Gulf, the Inner Ionian Sea archipelago and the Gulf of Corinth).

Giovanni Bearzi and Silvia Bonizzoni

(*) Zafiropoulos D., Merlini L. 2003. A comparative ecological study of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in South and North Evoikos Gulfs. 8th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology, Lemnos island, Greece.

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