25 May 2009

My first week at the Ionian Dolphin Project

My first week at the Ionian Dolphin Project in the Gulf of Corinth has passed.

I came here with two main objectives: 1) to learn from experience of Tethys researchers and 2) to contribute my help and experience to this new research project. I am quite sure (and I truly hope it really is so) that both goals are being fulfilled.

I am really learning so much here. Silvia and Giovanni are both being patient trainers, constantly teaching me and showing me new things about their way of organisation, study design, fieldwork, data analysis and data interpretation.

The project is very similar in many ways to the project I am running back home in Slovenia, and yet it is also very different. The experience I gain here will undoubtetly help me improve our way of work in the North Adriatic, hopefully ultimately contributing to the conservation of cetaceans and marine life in the Mediterranean.

And although I have seen quite a few bottlenose dolphins in several parts of Europe, the dolphins here have shown me things I have never seen before, including the dolphin with a strange tail, the dolphin with a dead newborn, dolphins being less than 10 m from the shore,...

But it is not only about research and science. For me it is a valuable experience also 'life-wise'. Being far from home, experiencing a different lifestyle, meeting interesting people, enjoying new environments (both natural and urban), getting new perspectives on things...for me this is also something very interesting and useful. I am really enjoying my time here, not only for the interesting thing we do, but also for the people that surround me.

My eyes are open and I look optimistically to the days ahead!

Tilen Genov

Photo: Tilen Genov and Silvia Bonizzoni discussing data collection protocols at the Galaxidi field station

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