02 August 2011

Less fin whales, more striped dolphins in the Pelagos Sanctuary



A new scientific paper was just published by Tethys' vice President Simone Panigada.

Panigada S, Lauriano G, Burt L, Pierantonio N, Donovan G (2011)
Monitoring Winter and Summer Abundance of Cetaceans in the Pelagos Sanctuary (Northwestern Mediterranean Sea) Through Aerial Surveys. PLoS ONE 6(7): e22878. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022878

Systematic long-term monitoring of abundance is essential to inform conservation measures and evaluate their effectiveness. To instigate such work in the Pelagos Sanctuary in the Mediterranean, two aerial surveys were conducted in winter and summer 2009. A total of 467 (131 in winter, 336 in summer) sightings of 7 species was made. Sample sizes were sufficient to estimate abundance of fin whales in summer (148; 95% CI = 87–254) and striped dolphins in winter (19,462; 95% CI = 12 939–29 273) and in summer (38 488; 95% CI = 27 447–53 968). Numbers of animals within the Sanctuary are significantly higher in summer, when human activities and thus potential population level impacts are highest. Comparisons with data from past shipboard surveys suggest an appreciable decrease in fin whales within the Sanctuary area and an appreciable increase in striped dolphins. Aerial surveys proved to be more efficient than ship surveys, allowing more robust estimates, with smaller CIs and CVs. These results provide essential baseline data for this marine protected area and continued regular surveys will allow the effectiveness of the MPA in terms of cetacean conservation to be evaluated and inform future management measures. The collected data may also be crucial in assessing whether ship strikes, one of the main causes of death for fin whales in the Mediterranean, are affecting the Mediterranean population.
The full paper is available for free

ITA. Un nuovo articolo scientifico con primo autore il vice presidente di Tethys, Simone Panigada, è stato pubblicato di recente. Dai survey aerei emerge che sia stenelle che balenottere comuni sono più abbondanti nel Santuario del Mar Ligure in estate che in inverno - in coincidenza con la maggiore pressione antropica. In confronto ai dati precedenti, le stime indicano una diminuzione delle balenottere e un aumento delle stenelle. M.J.
L'articolo è disponibile on line (in inglese)

3 comments:

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