Research Projects

Despite being a small research team, the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI) has demonstrated remarkable productivity through a prolific number of research projects. This dedicated team's commitment to advancing marine mammal research in different locations showcases their expertise and the impact of their work on the broader scientific community. The BDRI's numerous publications underscore their significant contributions to the understanding of marine ecosystems, highlighting the importance of their research in the conservation and sustainable management of these vital environments.

 

The BDRI conducts a diverse array of cutting-edge research projects, delving into the intricate lives of bottlenose dolphins and various marine species. These projects span a wide range of topics, including habitat use, vocal behavior, ecological dynamics, and anthropogenic impacts on marine mammals. From assessing the effects of marine traffic on bottlenose dolphin behavior to investigating the presence of plastics in the diet of Eurasian otters, the BDRI employs innovative methodologies such as passive acoustic monitoring, photo-identification, and advanced tracking technologies. By addressing critical gaps in our understanding of marine ecosystems, these projects contribute significantly to the conservation and management of marine species, offering insights that inform sustainable practices and strategies to mitigate human-induced threats in marine ecosystems.

 

Cetacean bioacoustics Dolphin internship Dolphin bioacoustics Studying dolphin communication

 

Ecology

- Study of the abundance and demographic parameters of bottlenose dolphins in the Rías Baixas of Galicia through photo-identification.

Funding: BDRI (2014-current) / TRAGSA - Ministerio para la transición ecológica y el reto demográfico (2022-2024)
Study area: Galicia (Spain)
Scientific article: Methion & Díaz López 2018; more to come

Utilizing systematic photographic documentation and individual identification based on unique markings, the study aims to estimate the population abundance of bottlenose dolphins in this coastal region. Additionally, demographic parameters such as age distribution, reproductive success etc. will be analyzed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the population dynamics. The findings contribute valuable insights into the health and conservation status of bottlenose dolphins in the Rías Baixas, informing management and protection strategies for this marine mammal population.

 

- Killer whales Habitat Suitability in the Iberian Peninsula and the Gulf of Biscay: Implications for Conservation.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: NE Atlantic
Cooperation with: CIRCE
Scientific article: forthcoming

This study focuses on addressing the knowledge gap concerning the habitat suitability of killer whales in the Iberian Peninsula and the Gulf of Biscay, within the North East Atlantic. The primary objective is to unravel the intricate dynamics of killer whale habitat use by applying spatial distribution models and analyzing sightings data collected from opportunistic platforms, in conjunction with crucial environmental factors influencing prey occurrence. The research aims to provide valuable insights into the habitat preferences of killer whales in this region, with the potential to enhance conservation efforts. The findings may inform strategies to mitigate human-killer whale interactions, contributing to the preservation of the delicate balance within marine ecosystems.

 

- Effects of Ocean Waves in the Rías Baixas Upwelling System: surface dynamics on selected biological case studies. STRAUSS.

Coordinated by: CSIC
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2021-2024)
Scientific article: forthcoming

The STRAUSS proposal represents a collaborative effort among several Spanish research groups, including information about waves and wind modeling, passive acoustic detection and spatial distribution of cetaceans from BDRI, etc. By combining these diverse datasets and methodologies, the research aims to provide comprehensive insights into the surface dynamics driven by ocean waves and their impact on selected biological case studies within the Rías Baixas Upwelling System. The interdisciplinary nature of this collaboration enhances the understanding of the complex interactions in this marine environment.


- Foraging ecology of Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in a marine environment (Galician Rias).

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2018-ongoing)
Scientific article: in progress

This research project seeks to uncover the determinants of the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) diet in a marine environment, specifically within the Ria of Arousa (Galicia, NW Spain). Through a detailed analysis of otter scat and dietary samples, combined with ecological surveys and behavioural observations, the study aims to identify key factors influencing otter food choices in this coastal habitat. By examining prey availability, seasonal variations, and potential anthropogenic impacts, the research provides valuable insights into the ecological dynamics of otter foraging behaviors. The findings have practical implications for conservation and management strategies in the Galician Rias, contributing to the understanding of otter ecology in marine environments and promoting the sustainable coexistence of otters and their ecosystems.

 

- Habitat Use by Iberian Harbour Porpoises: Ecological and Human Factors.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2014-ongoing)
Scientific article: Díaz López & Methion 2018; and more to come

The research employs research surveys, satellite data and ecological modeling to investigate the ecological and human factors shaping the habitat use of the Iberian harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena meridionalis). Given the unique challenges faced by this population, including low numbers and limited genetic diversity, the study underscores the pressing need for conservation efforts tailored to their specific circumstances. By elucidating the porpoises' preferences in relation to environmental conditions and human activities, the research aims to provide critical insights for the development of targeted conservation measures. The findings contribute to bridging the ecological knowledge gap, supporting informed conservation decisions to ensure the long-term survival and well-being of the Iberian harbour porpoise population along the north-western coast of Spain.

 

- Habitat selection by minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in Galicia, Spain.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2017-2022)
Scientific article: in progress

Through a combination of visual surveys and ecological modeling, the study aims to identify the environmental factors influencing the distribution and preferences of minke whales in this region. By analyzing their habitat selection, including aspects such as water temperature, prey availability, and oceanographic features, the research provides valuable insights into the ecological requirements of minke whales. The findings contribute to the broader understanding of marine mammal ecology in Galicia and support conservation efforts by informing strategies for the protection of key habitats and the sustainable coexistence of minke whales in this coastal environment.

 

- Phenology (seasonal timing) and habitat use of blue and fin whales on the northwestern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.

Funding: BDRI (2017-2022) / Fundación Biodiversidad of the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (2020-2021)
Study area: Galicia (Spain)
Scientific article: Díaz López & Methion 2019; and more to come

Utilizing a combination of visual surveys and satellite data, the study aims to elucidate the timing of presence, migration patterns, and preferences for specific habitats by these large cetaceans. By analyzing data collected over time, the research provides valuable insights into the ecological dynamics of blue and fin whales in the region, contributing to a better understanding of their behavior and informing conservation efforts. The findings may have implications for the management and protection of critical habitats for these species along the northwestern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.

 

- Assessing variability in marine traffic exposure between baleen whale species off the Galician Coast, Spain.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2017-2022)
Scientific article: Bland et al. 2022

Through a combination of vessel tracking data, research surveys, and ecological modeling, the study aims to quantify and compare the level of interaction between different baleen whale species and maritime activities. By considering factors such as shipping lanes, vessel density, and whale distribution, the research seeks to identify potential hotspots of exposure and assess the impact of marine traffic on these marine mammals. The findings contribute to marine conservation efforts by providing insights into species-specific vulnerabilities and informing strategies to mitigate the risks associated with increased maritime activities in the waters off the Galician Coast.

 

- Cetaceans and sirenians in one of the world’s most impacted marine environments (Arabian Gulf).

Coordinated by: Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (UAE)
Study area: Arabian Gulf (2014-2023)
Scientific articles: Díaz López, Grandcourt et al. 2018; Díaz López et al. 2021; and more to come

Trough a comprehensive assessment that includes population surveys, habitat analyses, and examination of anthropogenic threats, the study aims to identify the specific challenges faced by these marine mammals in the region. Factors such as habitat degradation, pollution, and human activities will be considered to understand the cumulative impact on marine top predators. The findings from this research can contribute to informed conservation strategies and management plans, addressing the unique vulnerabilities of these species in the highly impacted marine environment of the Arabian Gulf.

 

- Modeling ecosystem dynamics to assess the effects of coastal fisheries and climate change on cetacean species.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain, 2014-ongoing), Sardinia (Italy; 2005-2013)
Scientific articles: Díaz López et al. 2008; Díaz López 2009; Giralt Paradell et al. 2020, 2021

By integrating ecological modeling, climate data, and/or fishery impacts, the study aims to understand the complex interactions between marine ecosystems, fisheries, and cetacean populations. The research will explore how climate change influences prey availability, the impact of coastal fisheries on cetacean food sources, and potential cascading effects on cetacean species. The findings have implications for marine conservation and sustainable fisheries management, providing insights into how ecosystem dynamics and anthropogenic pressures intersect, and guiding strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change and fisheries on cetacean populations.

 

- Modeling common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) coastal distribution and habitat use in Galician waters.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2014-ongoing)
Scientific articles: Díaz López et al. 2019; Giralt Paradell et al. 2019

Through the use of spatial modeling techniques, ecological data, and habitat assessments, the study seeks to understand the factors influencing the presence and preferences of common dolphins in Galician waters. This information can be crucial for identifying critical habitats, assessing potential threats, and guiding conservation strategies for these dolphin populations. By integrating distribution patterns with ecological variables, the research contributes valuable knowledge to support the effective management and protection of common dolphins and their coastal habitats.

 

- WHALE DEAL: Mitigating Ship Strikes and Enhancing Carbon Sequestration in the Atlantic.

Funding: Interreg Atlantic Program
Study area: NE Atlantic (2023-2026)
Scientific articles: forthcoming

The project aims to reduce ship strikes with whales in the Atlantic Area and enhance the preservation of coastal and open sea ecosystems. Through transnational cooperation with other European research centers, the project will develop interactive tools for ship strike mitigation, using bottom-based hydrophones and visual camera detection systems on ships and data-driven systems to map and predict collision risk, assess the impact of acoustic pollution, and evaluate the ecosystem services provided by whales.

 

- Ecology of marine birds

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2014-ongoing), Sardinia (Italy; 2005-2013)
Scientific articles: Díaz López 2017; and more to come

Through comprehensive field surveys and spatial analyses, the research identifies and documents the diverse marine bird species inhabiting the region, categorizing them based on ecological niches and habitats. The study delves into the seasonal variations in distribution, considering breeding, migration, and non-breeding phases, while also examining the environmental factors influencing these patterns. By pinpointing key foraging areas, roosting sites, and breeding grounds, the research provides critical insights into the habitat preferences of different marine bird species. This information contributes to a nuanced understanding of the ecological dynamics of marine birds in coastal waters, facilitating the development of targeted conservation strategies and informed management practices.


- Habitat use of blue sharks (Prionace glauca) in Galician waters.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2016-ongoing)
Scientific articles: forthcoming

Through a combination of boat based surveys, satellite data, and ecological modeling, the study aims to understand the spatial distribution, movement patterns, and environmental preferences of juvenile blue sharks in this specific region. By analyzing factors such as oceanographic conditions, prey availability, and potential anthropogenic influences, the research seeks to provide valuable insights into the ecological requirements of this life stage of blue sharks. The findings contribute to the broader understanding of the species' ecology in Galician waters, supporting conservation efforts and management strategies tailored to the needs of juvenile blue sharks in this marine environment.

 

- Habitat use of the Iberian harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) in relation to marine traffic along the Galician Coast, Spain.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2014-ongoing)
Scientific articles: Díaz López & Methion 2018; more to come

This research project investigates the habitat use of the Iberian harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) along the Galician Coast in Spain, with a particular focus on its correlation with marine traffic. Employing a combination of satellite tracking and ecological modeling, the study aims to discern the porpoises' preferences in relation to areas with varying levels of maritime activity. By understanding the impact of shipping lanes on the porpoises' behavior, the project seeks to provide valuable insights for conservation efforts and sustainable marine management in the region, promoting the coexistence of marine life and human activities.


- The impact of anthropogenic pollutants on the distribution of a marine top predators within a coastal estuarine system (Galician Rias).

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2014-ongoing)
Scientific articles: Bridge et al. 2023

This research project focuses on assessing the impact of anthropogenic pollutants on the distribution patterns of key marine top predators within the coastal estuarine system of the Galician Rias in Spain. Through a comprehensive analysis that combines ecological surveys and water quality assessments, the study aims to identify the influence of pollutants on the habitat preferences and abundance of the targeted predator species (dolphin, porpoises and marine birds). By elucidating the relationships between environmental contaminants and the spatial dynamics of the top predators, the research contributes valuable data for conservation strategies and informs policies aimed at mitigating the effects of human activities on the delicate balance of the Galician Rias ecosystem.

 

- Habitat use of pelagic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) off Galician waters.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2017-ongoing)
Scientific articles: forthcoming

This research project focuses on elucidating the habitat use patterns of pelagic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) along the Galician continental shelf. Utilizing boat based surveys and spatial analysis, the study aims to characterize the dolphins' distribution, movement patterns, and environmental preferences in the open sea. By examining factors such as oceanographic conditions, prey availability, and potential anthropogenic influences, the research provides valuable insights into the ecological requirements and conservation needs of pelagic bottlenose dolphins. The findings contribute to the knowledge base for effective marine management and conservation strategies, ensuring the protection of these charismatic cetaceans.

 

- Photoidentification of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) along the waters of Galicia.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2015-ongoing)
Scientific articles: forthcoming

Utilizing a systematic approach involving photographic documentation and individual identification based on distinct markings and features, the study aims to create a comprehensive catalog of harbour porpoises in the region. This method allows for tracking and monitoring individuals over time, offering insights into population dynamics, habitat preferences, and potential threats. Despite the seemingly simple concept of photoidentification, this project plays a crucial role in contributing to the conservation and management efforts for Iberian harbour porpoises in Galician waters.

 

- ORCINUS App: A citizen science tool to study orca's movements

Funding: BDRI
In cooperation with: The Nautilus Project
Link: https://apps.apple.com/tr/app/orcinus/id1659221919 - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.thenautilusproject.orcinus&hl=es_419&pli=1

The BDRI is responsible of Orcinus an innovative reporting and tracking app designed to engage users in the documentation and sharing of Orca whale sightings and encounters worldwide. This user-friendly application provides a platform for enthusiasts, researchers, and the general public to contribute valuable information about killer whale (Orcinus orca) activities. Users can log their sightings, share photographs or videos, and provide essential details about the location and context of each encounter. The app also features a global map displaying reported sightings, creating a dynamic and interactive tool for visualizing the distribution of orcas around the world. Orcinus serves as a community-driven initiative, fostering collaboration and awareness to enhance our collective understanding of orca behavior, migration patterns, and conservation needs on a global scale.

 

- Marine litter: a threat for cetaceans and marine birds in Galician waters.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2014-ongoing)
Scientific article: forthcoming

This research project investigates the threat of marine litter to cetaceans and marine birds in Galician waters. Through comprehensive boat based surveys and spatial data analysis, the study aims to assess the potential impact of marine debris on these marine species. By examining the types and quantities of litter encountered, as well as their potential interactions with cetaceans and marine birds, the research provides valuable insights into the ecological consequences of marine pollution. The findings contribute to the understanding of the risks posed by marine litter, informing conservation strategies and advocating for measures to mitigate its effects on cetaceans and marine birds in coastal waters.

 

 

Common dolphin research projects Bottlenose dolphin research Dolphin research and conservation Studying whales in Spain

 

Cetacean Behaviour

- The impact of marine traffic on bottlenose dolphin behavior.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2014-ongoing)
Scientific articles: forthcoming

Through systematic monitoring from the shore, the study aims to assess how the presence of marine traffic influences the behavior of bottlenose dolphins. The use of Markov chain analysis allows for a quantitative examination of the transitions between different behavioral states in response to varying levels of vessel activity. By combining behavioral data with the temporal dynamics of marine traffic, the research aims to provide insights into the potential disruptions or alterations in the natural behavior of bottlenose dolphins in the presence of human-induced disturbances. The findings can contribute to informed conservation and management strategies aimed at mitigating the impact of marine traffic on these marine mammals.

 

- Behavioral ecology of bottlenose dolphin calf-mother-infant interactions.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain) (2014-ongoing)
Scientific articles: forthcoming

Through detailed field observations and behavioral analyses, the study aims to understand the dynamics and patterns of behavior within mother-calf pairs. The focus is on identifying and interpreting the various behaviors displayed by both mothers and their calves, including communication, play, and caregiving activities. By examining these interactions in the context of ecological factors such as habitat, prey availability, and social structure, the research contributes to a deeper understanding of the behavioral ecology of bottlenose dolphins. Insights from this study may have implications for the conservation and management of this species, providing valuable information for strategies aimed at protecting and preserving the critical mother-calf bond in bottlenose dolphin populations.

 

- The social structure of bottlenose dolphins with a focus on variations across different age groups and between sexes.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain; 2014-ongoing), Sardinia (Italy, 2005-2013)
Scientific articles: Díaz López 2008; 2019; 2020; Methion & Díaz López 2020

Through long-term field observations, behavioral analyses, and social network modeling, the study aims to characterize the social organization within bottlenose dolphin populations. The research investigates how social structures may differ among calves, juveniles, adults, and between males and females. By examining affiliations, group dynamics, and social roles, the study provides insights into the complexities of social relationships within the population. Understanding these variations can contribute to a comprehensive understanding of bottlenose dolphin societies, offering valuable information for conservation efforts and management strategies that consider the social dynamics at different life stages and between sexes within this species.

 

- Co-occurrence of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) in Galician waters (NW Spain).

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain; 2014-ongoing)
Scientific articles: Díaz López & Methion 2018; Methion & Díaz López 2021

This research project investigates the co-occurrence patterns of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), and harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) in Galician waters, NW Spain. Using a combination of visual surveys, photo-identification techniques, and ecological modeling, the study aims to understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of these cetacean species and their interactions within the region. By examining factors such as prey availability, environmental conditions, and potential anthropogenic influences, the research provides valuable insights into the ecological relationships and coexistence strategies among different cetacean species. The findings contribute to the broader understanding of marine biodiversity and support conservation efforts in the Galician waters.

 

- Differences in diving behavior among bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) across categories of age, sex, and degree of affiliation.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain; 2014-ongoing)
Scientific articles: Díaz López et al 2009; more to come

Through extensive behavioral observations and respiratory data analysis, the study seeks to characterize and quantify variations in diving patterns exhibited by dolphins belonging to different age groups, sexes, and social affiliations. By examining factors such as dive duration, type and frequency, the research aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of how these variables are influenced by demographic and social factors within the dolphin population. The findings contribute valuable insights into the behavioral ecology of bottlenose dolphins, facilitating a nuanced understanding of their diving behaviors in different contexts. This information has implications for marine mammal conservation and management, as it can help tailor strategies to protect and preserve the diverse needs of different demographic and social groups within the bottlenose dolphin population.

 

- Anthropogenic impact on the respiratory behaviour of fin whales and blue whales.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain; 2017-ongoing)
Scientific articles: forthcoming

Focusing on these magnificent marine mammals, the study employs behavioral observation to assess changes in respiratory patterns in response to human activities, such the presence and proximity of vessels. By analyzing alterations in surfacing intervals and dive patterns, the research aims to provide insights into how anthropogenic disturbances affect the respiratory physiology and overall well-being of these whales. The findings have implications for marine conservation and management, emphasizing the importance of mitigating human-induced stressors to ensure the health and sustainability of these iconic species.

 

- Dolphins Have Personalities, and Personality is More Important Than it Looks.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Sardinia (Italy, 2005-2013)
Scientific articles: Díaz López 2020

This research project explores the personalities of dolphins and emphasizes the significance of individual traits in these marine mammals. Through behavioral observations, cognitive assessments, and analysis of social interactions, the study aims to characterize and understand the unique personalities exhibited by dolphins. By delving into factors such as boldness and sociability, the research sheds light on the importance of personality in shaping the dolphins' responses to their environment and interactions with peers. The findings have implications for marine mammal welfare, conservation, and management, emphasizing the need to consider individual differences when assessing and addressing the well-being of these charismatic animals.

 

- The anthropogenic impact on the respiratory behavior of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain; 2014-ongoing)
Scientific articles: forthcoming

Through a combination of behavioral observation, and respiratory data analysis, the study aims to assess how vessel traffic influence the respiratory patterns of bottlenose dolphins. By examining changes in surfacing intervals and dive patterns the research provides insights into the potential stressors imposed by anthropogenic disturbances on these marine mammals. The findings contribute to our understanding of the ecological consequences of human activities in marine environments and can inform conservation and management strategies to minimize the impact on the behavior and overall well-being of bottlenose dolphins.

 

 

Bottlenose dolphins in Spain Blue whales in Galicia, Spain Marine mammal research and conservation Studying dolphins and whales in Spain

 

Bioacoustics

- Context-dependent and seasonal fluctuation in bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) vocalizations.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Sardinia (Italy, 2005-2013), Galicia (Spain, 2014-ongoing)
Scientific articles: Díaz López & Shirai 2010; Díaz López 2011; 2022; more to come

This research project explores context-dependent and seasonal fluctuations in vocalizations among bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Utilizing acoustic monitoring, behavioral observations, and seasonal data analysis, the study aims to investigate how the dolphins' vocalizations vary in different contexts and across seasons. By examining factors such as social interactions, feeding behaviors, and environmental conditions, the research provides insights into the communicative functions of dolphin vocalizations and the potential influence of seasonal changes on their acoustic behavior. The findings contribute to a deeper understanding of the complex communication patterns of bottlenose dolphins, with implications for marine mammal research and conservation strategies sensitive to both contextual and seasonal variations in vocalizations.

 

- Bottlenose dolphin communication: drivers of whistle production.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Sardinia (Italy, 2005-2013), Galicia (Spain, 2014-ongoing)
Scientific articles: forthcoming

This research project delves into the relationship between the number of wild bottlenose dolphins and the production of vocal sounds, particularly whistles. Using acoustic monitoring, behavioral observations, and statistical analyses, the study aims to uncover the drivers behind the variability in dolphin vocalizations. By exploring potential correlations with social interactions, environmental factors, and individual behavior, the research provides valuable insights into the communicative aspects of dolphin whistles and their role in group dynamics. The findings contribute to our understanding of cetacean behavior and communication.

 

- The use of signature whistles as a tool to identify bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Sardinia (Italy, 2005-2013), Galicia (Spain, 2014-ongoing)
Scientific articles: forthcoming

Signature whistles are unique vocalizations specific to individual dolphins, akin to a personal acoustic "name." Through acoustic monitoring, analysis of signature whistle patterns, and behavioral observations, the study aims to establish the reliability and effectiveness of using these distinctive vocalizations for individual identification. The research has practical applications for population monitoring, behavioral studies, and conservation efforts, offering a non-invasive and efficient method to track and study bottlenose dolphins in different environments. The findings contribute to our understanding of dolphin communication and facilitate more targeted conservation strategies for these charismatic marine mammals.

 

- Determining the presence of bottlenose dolphins in a river using passive acoustic monitoring.

Funding: BDRI. In cooperation with: CSIC, CETMAR
Study area: Galicia (Spain, 2014-ongoing)
Scientific articles: forthcoming

Through the deployment of underwater listening devices strategically placed in the entrance of a river, the study aims to detect and analyze the vocalizations of bottlenose dolphins. By examining the acoustic data, researchers can identify patterns of dolphin presence, assess the frequency and duration of vocalizations, and gain insights into the potential utilization of the river environment by these marine mammals. This information contributes to the understanding of the ecological dynamics and habitat preferences of bottlenose dolphins in riverine ecosystems, offering valuable insights for conservation and management strategies in these unique environments.

 

Studying whales and dolphins in Spain Marine mammal scientists Internship whales and dolphins Dolphin research and conservation

 

Cetacean health

- Marine and zoonotic reservoir of Candida auris: environmental screening and marine megafauna as a vector of transmission to humans.

In cooperation with: Health Research Institute of La Fe de Valencia (Spain)
Study area: Galicia (Spain, 2023-2024)
Scientific articles: forthcoming

This research project investigates Candida auris, focusing on its presence in both marine environments and marine megafauna as potential vectors of transmission to humans. Through environmental screening and the analysis of marine megafauna samples, the study aims to identify reservoirs of Candida auris in the marine ecosystem. The research explores the possibility of these organisms being transmitted to humans through interactions with marine megafauna. Understanding the dynamics of Candida auris in marine environments and its potential role in zoonotic transmission contributes to the broader understanding of fungal infections and highlights the importance of monitoring and managing environmental sources of infectious agents. The findings could inform strategies to reduce the risk of transmission and improve public health outcomes.

 

- Understanding the relationship between skin marks, species and body condition in baleen whales.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain, 2017-ongoing)
Scientific articles: Methion & Díaz López 2019; more to come

This research project seeks to understand the intricate relationship between skin marks, species, and body condition in baleen whales. Through a comprehensive analysis of skin markings, health assessments, and species-specific characteristics, the study aims to elucidate how external indicators, such as scars or markings, correlate with the overall body condition of different baleen whale species. By examining these relationships, the research provides valuable insights into the potential impact of various factors, including interactions with other species, environmental stressors, or anthropogenic activities, on the health and well-being of baleen whales. The findings contribute to the broader understanding of whale ecology and can inform conservation strategies tailored to address the specific needs and challenges faced by different baleen whale species.

 

- Pattern of skin disorders in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in a highly impacted area: differences between males and females.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain, 2014-ongoing)
Scientific articles: forthcoming

Through a comprehensive analysis of photographs of skin lesions and behavioral observations, the study aims to identify and characterize patterns of skin disorders among male and female bottlenose dolphins in Galician waters. By exploring gender-specific variations, the research provides insights into potential factors influencing skin health, including environmental stressors or social dynamics. The findings contribute to the broader understanding of the health status of bottlenose dolphins in areas of high impact, informing conservation strategies and management practices to mitigate threats to these marine mammals.

 

- The presence of plastics in the diet of the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in coastal ecosystems.

Funding: BDRI
Study area: Galicia (Spain, 2018-ongoing)
Scientific articles: forthcoming

Through fecal analysis and dietary studies, the study aims to identify and quantify the ingestion of plastic materials by Eurasian otters in their natural habitats. The research assesses the extent of plastic pollution in coastal ecosystems and its potential impact on otter populations. By understanding the prevalence of plastics in the otter diet, the study contributes to broader insights into the ecological consequences of plastic pollution in aquatic environments and its implications for the health and well-being of otters and other wildlife species. The findings may also inform conservation strategies aimed at mitigating the effects of plastic pollution on marine ecosystems and their inhabitants.

 

Bottlenose dolphins research and conservation Internship with dolphins and whales Volunteer with dolphins Marine mammal research in Spain

 

Research on cetaceans Blue whales research and conservation Internship with dolphins Studying whales in Spain

 

Marine bird research and conservation Marine birds research and conservation Study of marine birds in Spain Studying marine birds in Spain


 

Research and conservation internship Otter in Galicia Otter research projects Studying otter diet in Spain

 

 

Indian Ocean Humpback dolphins in UAE Bottlenose dolphin in Abu Dhabi Marine mammal research in Arabian Gulf Tursiops aduncus in Arabian Gulf

 

In order to carry out research in Spanish waters the BDRI collaborates with several national and international institutions and has a special research permit delivered by the Spanish Government.

 

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