12 June 2012

CSR_4 (June, 4th-10th)

This very week, people from all over the word came to join Tethys researchers to study the biodiversity of the Pelagos Sanctuary. Australia, Germany, Luxembourg, UK, and the USA were the nations present on board, and a cheerful attitude resonated among the participants and researchers alike. Particularly for a young Luxembourgian couple, such an attitude justified a returning research cruise.   Striped dolphins were the crew’s companions for several sightings, but the most exciting moment was the second sperm whale sighting of the season. One late evening, before spending the night in the bay of Ville Franche, the hydrophone detected some faint clicks, raising in everybody the thrill for a possible next day encounter. The expectation was not deluded when the morning after, clicks reappeared on the headphones and on the spectrogram. In front of Montecarlo, with 600m of water under the hull, the researchers acoustically tracked 3 animals. When they emerged one by one, they revealed themselves to be the usual sperm whale formation for our study area: a bachelor group, specifically a group of young and adult males that move and feed together. After five exciting hours, the team was able to collect photos well suited for the identification of the animals. Thanks to in depth analysis performed by the participants, a match from the photo-identification catalogue was found. It was discovered that one of the whales happened to have already been sighted in the first sperm whale encounter of the season in front of San Remo. This intellectual group of individuals displayed an intense enthusiasm and motivation that are hallmarks of Tethys eco-volunteers.   While the crew is sad see such a group of volunteers leave, they are confident that the lessons and morals imparted will persist in each individuals daily life at home.   Francesca, Valerio, Julia, and Chiara

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