In 1999 the Italian non-profit research organisation “Accademia del Leviatano” in collaboration with Mr. Bruno Díaz López, a zoologist with 18 years of experience as a cetacean researcher, started the "Dolphin-project"on Sardinia island in Italy. The project continued and in 2004, the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI) was established by Mr. Bruno Diaz Lopez. Over the years the project grew to encompass a wider area and more diverse range of issues, and in 2014, the BDRI moved to the north-western Spain (Galicia) to discover a new area, study more species and create new projects.
Long-term monitoring of a population is perhaps not viewed as exciting science, but is absolutely essential in order to estimate population trends and understand their causative factors. BDRI members seek to contribute to the understanding and conservation of dolphins, expand the public's knowledge and concern for our marine environment, and add to the knowledge base of bottlenose dolphins through publications of collected and analysed field data.
Using study techniques that neither harm nor seriously disturb the animals, BDRI's researchers are engaged in the conduction of a long term study about the ecology and behaviour of a bottlenose dolphin population, as well as collecting detailed information about their environment. Because of the high degree of behavioural and social flexibility that bottlenose dolphins have demonstrated throughout their range, it is essential to understand factors effecting local dolphins, if their populations are to be managed and conserved.
Bottlenose Dolphins are protected by European law, but in order to develop effective protection guidelines, education and research is necessary to find out much more about the dolphins, and the pressures they face. The main purpose of this program is to contribute towards a more detailed understanding of the relationships between bottlenose dolphins and human activities. To contribute to this objective during the next field season we will focus on the following objectives:
• Determine abundance, mortality rate, and birth rate of dolphins within the Galician waters.
• Identify individual dolphins, describe the patterns of association of bottlenose dolphins and describe the way in which their social separation is related to the way in which dolphins respond to the food patches created by humans.
• Document habitat use and a more detailed understanding of the relationships between bottlenose dolphins - fisheries (gill-nets and trawlers) and aquaculture.
• Mapping, in Geographic Information System (GIS), of cetacean (bottlenose dolphins, striped dolphins, common dolphins, fin whales, sperme whales, etc.) distribution and abundance and hot-spots of interaction with human's activities in order to determine special areas of protection.
• Study dolphin behaviour patterns and communication.
• Describe the dolphin vocalizations characteristics and changes induced by marine noise pollution.
• Participate in rescue operations and data collection from stranded cetaceans.
• Spread the knowledge regarding bottlenose dolphins and their conservation through different public awareness campaigns.
The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute is a marine science centre for Research, Education and training in cetaceans’ ecology and behaviour. Students and volunteers can participate in hands-on research on wild bottlenose dolphins and other cetaceans along the north-western coast of Iberian Peninsula (Galicia, Spain). The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute offers through the Internship, Volunteer and Field research Course programs hands-on experience in marine mammal research, boat based field work, intensive training and mentoring in marine ecology. It is a great opportunity for interested individuals to go abroad and participate in the BDRI programs during their gap year or to learn about cetacean’s ecology and behaviour during the holidays. The education and training programs will all take part on the north-western coast of the Iberian Peninsula (Galicia, Spain), a true marine biologist’s paradise. Any reproduction of the photographs, art, or other contents
is prohibited without written permission.